[Review] Podcast: 13 minutes to the moon

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing on 20 July 1969, the BBC World Service has produced a wonderful podcast.

Earthrise, taken on December 24, 1968, by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders. (Photo: NASA)

Thirteen minutes is the time it took the gold-wrapped, four-legged Lunar Module to reach the moon surface after separation from the command module, which remained in orbit around the moon.

The BBC podcast 13 minutes to the Moon tells the story of how incredible the moon landing was in fact. The episodes delve into the technology without losing track of suspense and personal drama.

Producer Kevin Fong interviews the astronauts, technicians, programmers, and flight controllers who at the time had an average age of 27 years.

They now tell him:

‘It almost didn’t happen’

‘Communication kept breaking down’

‘Technology was stretched beyond its limits’

‘Neil missed the planned landing site’

And about the thirteen minutes:

‘When I think of Neil and Buzz coming down in that final phase, I still get the chills. Buzz was reading out the altitudes and descent rates to Neil. And only finally the engine began kicking up some dust. We copy you down, Eagle, I said. We had a couple of guys here that were turning blue, but they’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.’

(Image: BBC Worldservice)

You can now listen directly to the people who got the first man on the moon. It’s an experience you’re not likely to forget.To the BBC download page



Science editor Jos Wassink

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