Sunday, September 18, 2016

Patriotism postponed

The Burke show is worth watching just for this
explanation of space ship navigation techniques alone.
Looks like I'm not making it to Philly today - I have postponed my get-out-the-vote trip until next month.

In the meantime, I have re-discovered the work of James Burke, which I do every four years or so. He usually does series but he did this fascinating one-off from 1979 called The Men Who Walked on the Moon. He explains the basics of how lunar spacecraft and rockets work. As Spaulding Gray said in Swimming to Cambodia - leave it to a Brit to explain American history to an American.

Jim Lovell makes an appearance along with the men who actually walked on the moon - Lovell was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie Apollo 13 - and in just a brief clip it's clear that Lovell is one of the more witty and personable astronauts.

And if you've seen Apollo 13 you're be especially fascinated by the middle of this program, which talks about the things that went wrong. I found it especially interesting to see how this documentary matched up with the movie - it mostly did, although the other two astronaut's response to the crises was much more relaxed in real life than in the movie, according to the interview with Lovell in this documentary. Apparently Haise and Swigert were very confident in Lovell's and NASAs ability to rescue them and so instead were both concerned about taking photos of the dark side of the moon - according to Lovell they were both fiddling with their camera settings soon after the tank explosion.

Towards the end of the video you'll learn more than you'll ever want to know about how astronauts poop in space.

And at the very end, Burke rants about the end of the space program - he's really annoyed by the end of deep space exploration.

You can watch the whole thing here.