‘Chasing the Moon,’ is a three-part science documentary series that delves into the Space Age, including the iconic landing on the moon. Created by Robert Stone, it replaces many of the traditional beliefs from that era with events surrounding scientific innovation, personal conflicts, political ambitions, and media coverage. The show showcases lost archival files, most of which had never been revealed before the public previously. A historical docu-series that unearths sensitive concealed data, which is around 5 decades old, this ambitious project airs on PBS for its audiences.
Chasing the Moon Cast: Who is in it?
This three-part American Experience film does not come with any added narration or explanation. Viewers get a real-time view of the events related to the Apollo 11 via footage and interviews with key players. There’s an ensemble cast of characters who had played vital roles to complete these missions successfully. Some of the featured names include astronauts like Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman, and Bill Anders. Apart from them, we also see the son of the former Soviet premier, Sergei Khrushchev, who is also a notable rocket engineer from the Soviet. Other featured experts are Poppy Northcutt (the young “mathematics whiz” who came to the limelight after she served in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control) and Ed Dwight, the US’s first black astronaut. Moreover, there are many never-seen-before faces of individuals who were involved in this space mission, such as people of color, leading females, journalists, and politicians.
Chasing the Moon Plot: What is it about?
‘Chasing the Moon’ sheds new light on the milestones surrounding the Space Race and highlights information from around 50-years-old archived files. This groundbreaking show documents the entire span, starting with the earliest genesis and ending with the first lunar landing in 1969. As you must already guess, this entire quest came with a complex backdrop. It was a 10-years-long struggle to beat the Soviet Union in a race to the moon, that involved immense financial, political, scientific, and personal stakes. When the research for this space mission was first launched, NASA did not receive worldwide support in its efforts. Although the victory was eventually celebrated, it did pose huge social and political challenges. And this show attempts to showcase these multiple difficulties in each of its 2-hour-long parts.
Yes, there are these familiar footages of ticker-tape parades and images of the moon landing taken by the astronauts. However, the episodes come with multiple new, unseen clips as well. Again, although NASA’s astronauts were later branded as national heroes, families and crew faced enormous pressure — both in terms of responsibility and worry about their safety. The involved team members had to endure sessions of intense training amidst this ever-present thought that the whole idea might end in death and national shame.
The first part of the series revolves around the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, which started during the early years of the space program. It takes us to 1957 when the US was struggling to catch up with the pace of the Soviet. As the episode progresses, we see how the still new American space program faced multiple challenges and successes, that involved high stakes, risks, and costs.
The second part is set between the years 1964 to1968. This period of the 60s was the most dangerous phase in the history of the space race and played an important role in propelling the victory of the Apollo 1 and Apollo 8 missions. The only question that needed an answer was — what exactly is it going to take to beat the Soviets to the moon?