This Monday, July 20, marks the 40th anniversary of one of humanity’s greatest achievements — reaching and walking on the moon. Because of this, you’ll notice the occurrence of moon-themed TV programming waxing this weekend:
Direct From the Moon (repeat) — National Geographic Channel (HD), July 19 at 7pm ET. Stunning footage of the eerie silence of the moon comes from Japan’s Kaguya lunar orbiter in this cool special.
Living on the Moon (premiere) — National Geographic Channel (HD), July 19 at 9pm ET. It’s been a while since we’ve visited the moon, but might we one day live on it? This new special shows how a team of NASA scientists is proving that dream could be achieved. “Constellation” is the space program’s plan to establish a human outpost on the moon by 2020. This show takes a closer look at the plans under way, from upgraded space suits to housing modules and moon vehicles. 3-D animation demonstrates what the outpost may look like.
Our Generation: Apollo 11 (repeat) — History, 10am & 4pm ET. Historian Steve Gillon tells the stories of the unforgettable events behind the moon landing, which defined the Baby Boomer generation and changed the world.
Modern Marvels: Apollo 11 (repeat) — History, July 20 at noon & 6pm ET. An experience of the flight of Apollo 11 as seen through the eyes of the astronauts, mission controllers, engineers and designers who made it happen.
Moon Machines: Lunar Rover (repeat) — Science Channel (HD), July 20 at 6pm ET. The untold story of how a small team convinces NASA to build what would become the lunar rover, and the formidable task its creation presented.
Moon Machines: Lunar Module (repeat) — Science Channel (HD), July 20 at 7pm ET. A look at the engineering marvel of the lunar module — affectionately called the “lunar bug” — and the constant battle to meet the seemingly impossible demands of weight restrictions.
The Universe: The Moon (repeat) — History (HD), July 20 at 8pm ET. This episode of the acclaimed series looks at how the moon came to be, as well as how mankind has used it over the millennia as everything from a god to a compass.
First on the Moon: The Untold Story (repeat) — Science Channel (HD), July 20 at 8pm ET. Most people don’t know just how close Armstrong and Aldrin came to death on their historic voyage. With the discovery of a lost tape, insight from top scientists and previously unreleased documents, this program reveals the story.
TCM Goes to the Moon With Buzz Aldrin — TCM, July 20 at 8pm ET. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin joins host Robert Osborne for an evening of moon-related movies. Titles include Georges Méliès’ 1902 silent classic A Trip to the Moon at 8pm; For All Mankind, a 1989 documentary about the Apollo missions at 8:15pm; 1983’s The Right Stuff at 10pm; and Marooned (1969) at 1:30am on July 21.
Live From ’69: Moon Landing — History, July 20 at 8:30pm & 11pm ET. This special goes back to 1969 to experience the actual CBS News/Walter Cronkite coverage of the first lunar landing. Using minimal editing and leaving the original footage untouched, History hopes to leave viewers feeling as if they are watching live coverage of the event — the success of which was certainly not a given back then, a fact made apparent as Cronkite and colleagues anxiously watch the mission unfold.
If We Had No Moon — Science Channel (HD), July 20 at 9pm ET. If a major space collision with the Earth had not resulted in the creation of the moon, Earth would apparently be a pretty nasty place to hang out — each day would last four hours, winds would blow with hurricane force, and the planet would be shrouded in a dense, toxic atmosphere.
Moonshot (premiere) — History (HD), July 20 at 9pm ET. Interlaced with original NASA footage transferred to high definition, this is a two-hour re-creation of the first manned landing to the moon, with actors portraying the personalities behind the achievement. The film follows everything from the crew’s earliest days at NASA to the moment when Armstrong and Aldrin stepped on the moon (and the argument over who would be the first to do so).
MythBusters: NASA Moon Landing (repeat) — Discovery Channel (HD), July 20 at 9pm ET. The team tries to determine if what some conspiracy buffs claim is true — that the whole moon landing was a hoax.
When We Left Earth: Landing the Eagle 40th Anniversary Special (premiere) — Discovery Channel (HD), July 20 at 10pm ET. Featuring newly restored footage of the landing recently released by NASA, and with first-person accounts from astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, this special edition of When We Left Earth vividly tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission.
The Universe: Mysteries of the Moon (repeat) — History (HD), July 20 at 11:30pm ET. Another episode focusing on our closest celestial neighbor, which explores the theories behind Lunar Transient Phenomena, looks at how the moon affects our planet through tides, and dusts off age-old myths and weighs arguments that without our moon, humanity may not even exist.
Direct From the Moon: Credit: National Geographic Channel
Moonshot: © 2009 Dangerous Films Ltd.