Monday, June 9, 2008

Strung Out in Heaven's High

We've watched the first two episodes of Discovery HD's miniseries When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions, and I'm nearly speechless. I have always loved the stories of America's early space program. I remember the first time I saw The Right Stuff -- based on Tom Wolfe's book about the Project Mercury program -- on HBO with my parents back in the '80s and being transfixed by the story and fascinated by the fact that the real people the actors were portraying were still around.

When I saw the trailer for this new series, where the Discovery Channel was able to open up the NASA vaults and re-master the footage for presentation, I was blown away. Gary Sinise does a fine job of narrating, framing the visually stunning footage in its natural flow and suspense. And as our six year old son observed: "This is like Star Wars... only [in Star Wars] they don't wear spacesuits or helmets, just their regular clothes and a communicator."

My only complaint is that the episodes go by much too quickly. Episode 1, "Ordinary Supermen", covers the Mercury missions in just under an hour. Likewise, episode 2, "Friends and Rivals", presents the Gemini program in the same running time. But that could be considered nitpicking, because I am grateful to see any of this footage at all.

1 comment:

El Dave said...

Dang it! I forgot this was on!
I'm such a sucker for spaceflight; things like this always make me tear up a little. To be able to go out at night, point up at the moon and say "We've been there" is an amazing feeling.

So is pointing at the rest of the stars and saying, "You're next"