More than half a century ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made history when it sent the first humans into orbit around Earth’s moon. The move, which effectively ended the space race between the United States and Russia came almost two years after the tragedy of the Apollo 1 mission. Three astronauts – Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee – died in the fire that enveloped the craft on the launch pad. Now thanks to PBS Distribution, the story of that tragedy and the surprising resurrection of America’s Apollo program is being told anew — as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission nears — in the form of the new NOVA episode Apollo’s Daring Mission. This latest story is a presentation that will appeal to students of lovers of space science just as much as those who appreciate history in general. This is due in part to the program’s central story, which will be addressed shortly. The content used to help tell the story is just as worth mentioning in examining the DVD as the story itself. It will be addressed a little later. The program’s average price point is another key part of the presentation’s whole and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission. Altogether, they make this episode one more of this year’s top new documentaries.
NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission is hardly the first documentary to ever focus on the matter of NASA’s Apollo space program. What’s most it is not the first even from PBS to focus on the Apollo program. That aside, it does not make this doc any less interesting than its predecessors and counterparts (whether from PBS or other outlets). That is due in part to the documentary’s central story. The story is that of Apollo 8’s landmark lunar mission, and the work that went into the mission. It makes certain not to ignore the tragedy of the Apollo 1 fire, which almost put a stop to the Apollo program in whole. Audiences who maybe are not so familiar with the story of the Apollo program will find themselves asking why the hatch on Apollo 1 opened inward instead of outward. That played directly into the tragedy, as did the revelation in the investigation into the fire, that shoddy workmanship was really at the core of that fire. What’s more, considering America’s current social climate, women will be happy to learn that a woman was the one responsible for creating the software that allowed the Apollo 8 crew to carry out its mission. This is an especially timely revelation, considering the recent revelation that a woman was the one responsible for the identification of a black hole’s event horizon. As if all of this is not enough, viewers will be just as interested to learn that the Apollo 8 crew did not want a computer to make all the capsule’s moves for them, but in fact argued that they wanted to have control of the computer. That, along with the discussions on the time and work that went into making sure all safety precautions were taken and that the rocket worked perfectly add even more interest to the story. Between all of this and the items not directly noted here, the story offers more than enough to keep viewers engaged and entertained. It is collectively just part of what makes the DVD worth the view. The content used to tell the story adds even more appeal to the documentary.
The content used to tell the story of the Apollo program – not just the Apollo 8 mission – creates plenty of engagement and entertainment because it gives viewers a first-hand recollection of the program’s history. The crew of the Apollo 8 – Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders – recalls the events leading up to and after their historic flight, even recalling the reading of the creation story from the Bible and how they came to choose that as their message to the people of Earth. Now retired NASA officials who were involved in the Apollo program, including the very man who spoke directly with the Apollo 8 crew, share their stories along with the mission crew. Among them is the very woman responsible for creating the software that allowed the mission to happen – Margaret Hamilton – and the man who served as the contact point between Houston and the Apollo crew. His anecdote about what he wished he could have said to the crew as the Apollo 8 slipped from Earth’s orbit and headed toward the moon is certain to generate plenty of laughs among audiences. All of this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that is the content used to tell the story of Apollo’s Daring Mission. There is so much more for audiences to take in throughout the course of the documentary. When it is all considered with the material noted here and the story itself, the whole of that content gives audiences more than enough reason to take in this documentary. Keeping it all in mind, the DVD’s average price point proves to be money well-spent.
The average price point of NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission is $19.54. That price was obtained by averaging prices listed at PBS’ store, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amazon and Walmart. The DVD was not listed at Target or Books-A-Million at the time of this posting. The most commonly listed price is $17.99 while the most expensive price was listed at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, at $23.75. That makes Barnes & Noble’s price the only one that is noticeably above average. PBS’ price of $19.99 is barely above that average. Considering the breadth and depth of the content featured in this documentary, the average price of $19.54 and the listed price of $17.99 at the noted retailers will not break any viewer’s budget. It will be money well-spent for those students and lovers of space science and history in general. Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point for this DVD and its content comes together to make the presentation in whole one more of this year’s top new documentaries.
NOVA: Apollo’s Daring Mission is not the first documentary ever released that centers on the history of NASA’s Apollo program. Even with that in mind, it is still an engaging and entertaining program in its own right. That is proven in part through an in-depth story that presents the story of the Apollo program in a new light. The content used to tell the story ensures even more, viewers’ engagement and entertainment. The average price point and actual listed prices will, in large part, not break viewers’ budgets. Keeping all of this in mind, this new documentary is a win for any and all lovers and students of the space sciences and history in general. It is available now. More information on this and other episodes of NOVA is available online now at:
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