It’s been the subject of countless songs, books, movies — and a slew of new television programs and documentaries. So in case you’ve been under a moonrock, the momentous 50th anniversary of mankind’s first visit to the moon happens next week.
As the world watched, Apollo 11’s three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, blasted off July 16, 1969, and reached Earth’s moon four days later.
For those wanting to immerse themselves in the history of the glorious achievement, here are some of the programs about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Although some have already aired, you may be able to catch them streaming.
“American Experience: Chasing the Moon,” PBS
The three-part, six-hour documentary examines the space race from the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launches to the landing at Tranquility Base, putting all the key events into societal context.
“Apollo’s Moon Shot,” Smithsonian Channel
Six episodes airing on Sunday nights chronicle all the Apollo missions through the final one in 1974, with commentary from experts at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
“Apollo: Missions to the Moon,” National Geographic Channel
This two-hour documentary dissects all the Apollo missions, from the first through number 17. It features synchronization of 30-track audio from mission control.
“The Day We Walked on the Moon,” Smithsonian Channel
Astronaut Michael Collins, doctor of astrophysics (and Queen guitarist) Brian May along with a host of old NASA hands are among the talking heads in a documentary focusing on the landing itself.
“Back to the Moon,” PBS
This “Nova” documentary examines what’s actually on the moon, including minerals and underground ice water, along with plans for a more permanent lunar presence.
“Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes,” History, 9 p.m., July 14
The hour-long film features exclusive and rarely seen or heard audio and video including the Apollo 11 astronauts talking to Life magazine before and after their flight.
“8 Days: To the Moon and Back,” PBS, 9 p.m., July 17
In live-read style, actors dressed in spacesuits lip-synch the actual audio from the Apollo 11 cockpit and landing module.
“Wonders of the Moon,” BBC America, 10 p.m., July 19
This documentary looks at various lunar phenomena and influences including eclipses, tides and super moons.
“Apollo 11,” CNN, 6 and 8 p.m., July 20
This stunning feature-length documentary uses recently discovered large-format film to put you right in the middle of the countdown with Mission Control — and with the astronauts on their round-trip voyage.
— Hillary Atkin