When We Left Earth
Throughout my entire life, I've always been drawn to space and stories about NASA and their missions, as I'm sure many others have. Anyone in their right mind would want to find out more about the incredible universe we live in, instead of chalking it up to some "being" that created us all (though many theists would claim that God created everything we find in the great unknown). The Discovery miniseries When We Left Earth satisfies plenty of these small curiosities. Recently, President Obama has come under significant scrutiny from scientists and astronomers due to his position (to cut the budget) on space exploration. Yet even more recently, he has countered those arguments with a few solid goals: to make asteroids and Mars a realistic destination for the future. JFK challenged Americans to reach the moon by 1961. According to the New York Times, Obama's vision is a bit different--it was a "call for private industry to innovate its way to Mars, rather than a call for a national effort to demonstrate American predominance." I can't say that I disagree: eventually, not in our lifetime or our children's lifetime or our grandchildren's lifetime, Earth will no longer be a safe and reliable home for human beings.
When We Left Earth is a 6-part miniseries consisting of hour long episodes about the general history of NASA and its missions. Part 1, entitled "Ordinary Superman", deals with the Space Race and the failures and successes of the Mercury program; Part 2, entitled "Friends and Rivals", deals with Project Gemini and the first American spacewalk; Part 3, entitled "Landing the Eagle", details the Apollo program with great interviews and views of the first Lunar landing; Part 4, entitled "The Explorers", deals with five other successful moon landings, including the Apollos; Part 5, entitled "The Shuttle", shows the Space Shuttle and the ill-fated Challenger mission (the video of which still gives me goosebumps no matter how many times I witness it); Part 6, entitled "A Home in Space", deals with the Hubble and the International Space Station and the failed Columbia Mission. All of the episodes are intriguing, entertaining and well worth watching. My only hope is this: in thirty years time, we will have another incredible and inspiring mini-series to view, probably titled When We Arrived, pertaining to more successful missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.