With apologies to the late James W. Best for appropriating his image (from his 1935 Forest Life in India)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Those Were the Days

I shudder to think how many words have been penned on the Apollo moon missions – I’ve edited a fair few myself – but it must run into the millions. I think it was Brian Aldiss who said that people won’t ever solve their problems by going into space, but just take them with them. Even so, no one can deny the staggering achievements of NASA in the 1960s and early ‘70s, and the extraordinary bravery of the Apollo astronauts. Two of my favourite books – though strictly speaking they belong to my oldest brother… – are two of the many titles published in the months following the first moon landing. This one came out within 72 hours of splashdown:

This next one is considerably shorter, but punches well above its weight: 

Ryan notes how NASA ‘spent thousands of dollars designing an electric razor with a vacuum cleaner attached to prevent the spacecraft from becoming filled with weightless whiskers, but, as the Apollo 8 crew [Frank Borman, James Lovell, William Anders] demonstrated, shaving foam and a safety razor work just as well...’