Summer of Space

“Chasing the Moon” Interviews, Part Two: Magnificent Desolation


Photo courtesy Lilly Bralts-Kelly

American Experience's Chasing the Moon documentary airs on WILL-TV on July 8, 9, and 10, and is available for streaming in its entirety on July 8. These six hours of space race heaven span the history of the space race, from the development of early 20th century rockets, through the tumultuous 1960s, and culminating in the first and subsequent moon landings by the United States' Apollo program.

To celebrate Chasing the Moon and this "Summer of Space", Illinois Public Media's Lisa Bralts talked with University of Illinois astronomy, aerospace engineering, and history professors about the science, history, and various legacies of that era's American space program. Many thanks to Steve Morck for his recording and editing contributions to this project. 

Though Apollo appeared to be mostly about winning the race to the moon, there was plenty of work to be done upon arrival. Illinois astronomy professors Charles Gammie, Brian Fields, and Joaquin Vieira break down the work that was done on the moon, what was required of the people doing that work, and much more.