Exploring the Space Program
The moon landing in July 1969 was one of the handful of greatest moments in the history of human civilization. And it was just the beginning.
The literature of the US, Soviet, and now Chinese space programs (1957-2019) is outstanding. Clay is most interested in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs, beginning with Alan Shepard’s 15-minute sub-orbital mission in May 1961, through Apollo 11, to the last moon landing in December 1972 (Apollo 17). We’ll pay particular attention to the breathtaking Apollo 8 mission (December 1968, culminating in the reading of the first eight verses of Genesis from lunar orbit), without neglecting humankind’s first step on the moon or Apollo 13’s heroics in April 1970. We’ll spend some time talking about Skylab, the Shuttle, the International Space Station, Mars landings, and probes to the edges of the solar system—and beyond.
We’ll read Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff (and analyze the film); Norman Mailer’s Of a Fire on the Moon, Craig Nelson’s Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, Jeffrey Kluger’s Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon; and Robert Poole’s Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth. A list of films to watch and additional reading will be available to those who register.
We’ll fire off a few multi-stage rockets and celebrate around the outdoor fire pit with Clay’s trademarked Tang Space Punch.