In July the world will be celebrating 50 years since Apollo 11, when Neil Armstrong took those historic first steps on the Moon. In this episode of the Physics World Stories podcast, Andrew Glester looks back at some of the lesser known stories from the Apollo era.
Glester catches up with Kevin Fong, presenter of 13 Minutes to the Moon, the BBC podcast exploring the final dramatic 13-minute descent of the Apollo 11 mission, when everything came close to going badly wrong. Fong explains why the Apollo rockets’ guidance systems were so ground-breaking at the time. He also describes the extraordinary psychology of the Apollo astronauts who risked their lives in the pursuit of progress.
Next up, Alan Andres speaks about Chasing the Moon, the book he co-authored with Robert Stone that has been turned into a PBS documentary. He discusses the complex dual life lived by Wernher von Braun, Nazi scientist-turned NASA rocket pioneer. Andes also explains why James Webb, the American government official who oversaw NASA from 1961–1968, left such a lasting legacy on the US education system.
Glester also visits the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK where he catches up with a trio of Apollo aficionados. ...