Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Shadow of the Moon and More Arctocephalus pusillus but not necessarily in that order...

capecross fur seals arctocephalus pusillus
Did I mention that a peculiar pungent "seal" odour emanates from the beaches of Cape Cross?
capecross fur seals arctocephalus pusillus
...and the Cape is noisy as all hell?

Cape Cross Fur Seal Factoids of the Day: Adult male Cape Fur Seals are 2–2.3 m long and average 247 kg in weight. Adult females are 1.2–1.6 cm long and weigh an average of 57 kg. At birth they weigh around 6 kg.

Movie Review: In the Shadow of the Moon

"My father was born shortly after the Wright Brothers. He could barely believe that I went to the Moon. But my son, Tom, was five. And he didn't think it was any big deal." -
Charlie Duke, Astronaut (Apollo 16).

In the Shadow of the Moon is an amazing documentary about greatest adventure of all time, America's quest to fly men to the moon in the 1960's.

The film footage taken during the missions provided the obligatory brilliant, breathtaking, powerful imagery. The slow motion footage of the Saturn V rocket lifting off the launch pad and the earth rising as the command module came around the moon are set to an appropriately dramatic soundtrack.

However, the power of In the Shadow of the Moon came from the narration provided by astronauts of the Apollo moon programme. The men were indeed part of an exclusive club and they knew it.

After all these years (some were octagenarians at the time of productions), their memories were crystal clear. Surprisingly, I found their recollections elegantly succinct, direct, powerfully evocative, and deeply personal. You could tell they were still profoundly affected by their adventures as younger men.

Remember, these guys were hardcore military types, made of "the real stuff", test pilot cool beyond all recognition back in the day. Yet they , especially Michael Collins (Apollo 11) and Alan Bean (Apollo 12), came across as eloquent, witty, down-to-earth human.

I sat through the two hour film. At the end all I could think of was "wow". I gotta go. Not necessarily into outer space but on another crazy terrestrial-bound expedition of my own.

As I looked up at the moon tonight, it was hard to imagine that it's been nearly 40 years since Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface for the first time. Whole generations of people now have no idea of this golden age of space exploration: a time of vision and bold dreams.

Whether or not you remember or even existed during this Apollo age I wholeheartedly recommend signing this one outta the library...

Rating: five overdue fines out of five.

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