Space, the final frontier – 1960’s style
A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog called ‘London Lost’, about how I’d found a box of old slides from the 1950’s and 60’s and spent a very pleasant hour or so flicking through them to see what secrets they held. While most of them were family photos, some were of London and others were part of a collection about space, including the Apollo 11 moon landing and one of the first ever spacewalks. At the time, I promised to share those with you in a future blog and so, not being one to dilly-dally, here they are.
Unlike the slides in ‘London Lost’, which had suffered the ravages of time, albeit in a way that I think greatly enhanced them, most of the space slides haven’t done quite as badly and retain more of their original and in my view, fabulous 1960’s colour palette… which you just don’t get with today’s ultra-clear, high definition images. Okay, so they are a little grainy, but then what do you expect for pictures taken almost fifty years ago?
So, once again, grab yourself a cup of something warm (or cool, depending on where you’re from), sit back somewhere comfortable and lose yourself in a pictorial journey through time and space.
Starting from the beginning, we’ve got a few general images of the Earth from space, just to help set the scene and let you know where you are… or where you should be if you’re currently somewhere else.
Then we have a few slides of the Gemini missions, namely Gemini 4 and 7, which preceded the Apollo missions that ultimately placed a man on the moon, back in 1969. The Gemini missions were important because they allowed key techniques and manoeuvres to be perfected before the Apollo missions were launched.
Moving on, we’re now right up there with the big boys, starting with Apollo 9, which saw the first successful test of the complete Apollo spacecraft, including the famous Lunar Module, or ‘LEM’.
Then, it’s the main event. The one that everyone (or almost everyone these days) knows about, Apollo 11. Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, the first two men on the moon and poor old Michael Collins, who piloted the command module alone while his colleagues were bouncing around on the lunar surface. Some people get all the luck!
In lieu of a brief interlude after all that excitement, here are a couple of calming images of our nearest celestial neighbour, the moon. Beautiful, alluring and sitting a mere 252,000 or so miles away, completely beyond the reach of most of us!
Following that, we’re on to some of the less well-known Apollo missions, namely Apollo 12 and 14. Funnily enough, there aren’t any pictures of the Apollo 13 mission, which saw Captain James Lovell and his crew stuck in space for six days, following an accident, until they made a heroic and successful re-entry into the Pacific Ocean, on 17 April 1970. Arguably, because of the Apollo 13 film by Ron Howard, starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise and the now sadly departed, Bill Paxton, the Apollo 13 mission is probably NASA’s best-known space mission, even though it didn’t achieve its original objective.
Finally, to wrap things up, we gaze outward, as man has done ever since he first looked at the heavens to see some of the most iconic astronomical groupings in space, including the Orion Nebula and the ever-dazzling Pleiades, or Seven Sisters as they are also known.
Note: Originally, all of these images would have come from NASA, but seeing as they were part of a commercially available collection that was intended for sale, I don’t think that they’ll mind me dusting them off and sharing them with you just this once. I hope that you enjoyed them!