• June 26, 2022
 Amy’s Everyday Astronomy:  Review of PBS’s ‘8 Days: To the Moon and Back’

Photo courtesy NASA

Amy’s Everyday Astronomy: Review of PBS’s ‘8 Days: To the Moon and Back’

Having been born in 1972 at the exact moment the very last humans were walking on the surface of the moon, I wasn’t there to see the live broadcast of Apollo 11. So, you can imagine how honored I was to receive a screening of 8 Days: To the Moon and Back from PBS.

The perfect blend of actual footage and audio from NASA flawlessly stitched together with CGI puts the viewer right in the Columbia module with the Apollo astronauts. I wonder what Neil, Buzz, and Michael were thinking as the rocket thundered below them.

I found myself watching on the literal edge of my seat as Neil took his first step down to the lunar surface. I felt the anxiety build when Buzz noticed the broken switch inside the Eagle lander—a switch that if not fixed would have caused the astronauts to be forever stranded on the moon.

These are all things I’ve read about or seen in archived footage. But this beautifully rendered movie that airs on July 17, 2019 on PBS really made me feel as if I was part of this journey with these men.

Ever since I was a young girl, all I’ve ever wanted was to fly in space. For some, this dream has to do with achieving some type of glory. For me, it has to do with witnessing the sheer majesty, the poetry of the cosmos.

“Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Since that time, man seems to have forgotten what that means. They’ve forgotten the words on that plaque left on the surface of a world other than our own by brave men 50 years ago. Hearing Neil say those words really brings home to me a sense of how isolated we truly are in the vastness of space.

And likewise, looking at the photos taken by these lunar pioneers should remind us all of the words of Carl Sagan:

“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

In 1969, when these three souls left our world for another, no one questioned the validity of their journey. It is only in recent decades, marred by amnesia and arrogance that the truth is questioned. And on a personal note, I find this doubt not just troubling, but offensive.

In man’s hubris, he has toiled more against his own brothers than worked toward finding the commonality we all share.

Perhaps this film will remind us all of how wonderous and vast the universe truly is, and that only in working together can we truly accomplish great things.


For a daily dose of Amy’s Everyday Astronomy:, like and follow her Facebook Pagecheck out her webpage; to read previous articles, click here.

Amy Cooley

A native El Pasoan, Amy Cooley attended Parkland High School before beginning her studies in physics at EPCC. With her love of dark skies increasing, she transferred to New Mexico Tech University where she earned her degree in Astronomy. Moving back to El Paso in 2008, she now wants to share her love of the cosmos with the city she calls home.

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