{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/inside_adams.php' }

Apollo 11 in Real Time: Hear Every Word & See Everything!

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division.

If you’re one of the millions truly excited by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission, then you are in for a treat. You may have heard something about 11,000 hours of audio from the mission now available.  It’s true!  You can hear all of the voices on Mission Control audio and you can get all of the mission’s historical media: footage of Mission Control, film shot by the astronauts, and television broadcasts transmitted from space and the surface of the Moon, all placed together with the audio (and transcript) as it happened.  And you can jump in at any point.  Here is the story of this major feat: the website, apolloinrealtime.org/11, which went live June 15, 2019 and the man behind it.

Stephanie Marcus and Ben Feist, 2016.

His name is Ben Feist and he’s from Toronto.  I met him in December 2016 when the Library featured NASA Goddard’s Dr. Noah Petro, lead scientist on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), speaking on Walking with the Last Men on the Moon: Revisiting the Apollo 17 Landing Site with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (Petro returned this year on April 30th to speak about Apollo at 50 – the webcast should be up on the Library’s website soon).  Feist’s hobby was creating a website on the Apollo 17 mission, Apollo17.org, where visitors can take a 302-hour, real-time multimedia journey through that last mission to the Moon. The records of the mission were quite disorganized, so he spent his evenings sifting through, organizing, and re-creating the 12-day mission. When Dr. Petro found out about it, he invited Ben to talk at Goddard. Petro thought Ben’s work might be the key to better organizing the data of future missions.  NASA not only liked his work, they asked him to stay on and do some projects, and then they officially hired him as an independent contractor, “Spaceflight Data Visualization Researcher,” splitting his time between Johnson Space Center and Goddard!

The next exciting event was the documentary, Apollo 11, which premiered at Sundance in January 2019 to rave reviews.  Filmmaker Todd Miller worked with Daniel Rooney from the National Archives, who had discovered 177 reels of unprocessed footage from the mission, and Feist, who provided the 11,000 hours of digitized audio whose quality he had improved.

Let Ben Feist tell it in his own words:

Visiting the astromaterials laboratory at JSC. Apollo samples are in the cabinet in front of me.
Photo from the author at benfeist.com

It’s my pleasure to announce the release of https://apolloinrealtime.org/11, a multimedia website that I have been building for the past two years. It plays the entire Apollo 11 mission in real time. Included are 2,000 photographs, 11,000 hours of Mission Control audio, 240 hours of space-to-ground audio, all onboard recorded audio, 15,000 searchable utterances, post-mission commentary, and astromaterials sample data.

With the help of archivist Stephen Slater, this website is the most complete presentation of the mission’s historical film footage ever assembled. It contains all of the 16mm film that was scanned for the recent film, Apollo 11. Much of this silent film has had sound added to it for the first time–painstakingly lip synced with the restored mission control audio that was just digitized (and that I restored). Stephen is a genius at this stuff. It’s pretty much guaranteed that visitors will see things that they’ve never seen before. All footage is included, not just the popular stuff during landing that has been used over and over. We’ve been jokingly saying that apolloinrealtime.org is the 240-hour cut of the Apollo 11 film. It’s the whole thing.

This website applies the concept of making every media element sync to mission time. If you want to see a certain photo, the whole experience jumps to the moment the photo is being taken. If you’d like to research one of the lunar samples, you can find it at the moment the sample container is being filled. Placing the astromaterials within the mission context is something that the scientific community finds very valuable.

The centerpiece of the website is 11,000 hours of Mission Control audio that has been synced to mission time. For any moment in the mission, visitors can open a panel that exposes 50 channels of audio covering every controller position in Mission Control and several other communication loops.

During the mission anniversary (July 16th – 24th), clicking the ‘Now’ button will drop you into the mission exactly 50 years later, to the second.

If I had my way, all of humanity would take a moment out of their busy lives, tune in and marvel at the scale of what humanity can achieve when we all work together.

The Science and Business Reading Room is putting on their own anniversary celebration. We are displaying books from the Library’s extensive collection about the Moon, Moon missions and Apollo 11 through July 24th, as well as a selection of Moon themed quilts inspired by the Apollo 11 50th anniversary on July 16 and 17.   We hope you will be able to visit, but if not, please view the webcasts about the Moon!

 

Fly Me to the Moon: Celebrating Apollo 11 at 50 with a Quilt & Book Display

Fly Me to the Moon: Celebrating Apollo 11 at 50 with a Quilt & Book Display

This post was authored by Nanette Gibbs, Business Reference Librarian, and Sean Bryant, Science Reference Librarian, of the Science, Technology, and Business Division. The Science, Technology and Business Division is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission with a display of books from the Library’s general collection, paired with a selection of […]

Hurricane Hunting NASA Style: Lecture with Research Meteorologist Scott Braun June 13

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. Overshadowed by an outbreak of tornadoes in May, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1.  NASA Goddard research meteorologist Scott Braun will present a timely lecture on how NASA is using space-based and airborne measurements to […]

Planet-Hunting NASA Astrophysicist, Elisa Quintana, to Speak at the Library May 9

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. The next speaker in the NASA Goddard lecture series, Elisa Quintana, never dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist, but happened to take physics at the University of California, San Diego, and was fortunate to work with Professor Sally Ride. […]

Back to the Moon! NASA Scientist Noah Petro to Talk April 30 about Apollo at 50 and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. 50 years ago on July 20, 1969, around 530 million of us watched in amazement as first Neil Armstrong and then Buzz Aldrin left the lunar module Eagle and stepped out on the surface of the moon.  Michael […]

Earhart in L’Aerophile

I have been wanting to delve into the L’Aerophile collection for business themed posts for quite a while; I’ve found a number of things I want to write about, but I’ve chosen to start with Amelia Earhart, because March is Women’s History Month. The L’Aerophile collection was featured in a post by Angel Vu in […]

Celebrate Innovators and Changemakers on National Inventors Day! Learn about Aviation Pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright

This post was written by Michelle Cadoree Bradley, a Science Reference Specialist in the Science, Technology and Business Division. “For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man,” wrote Wilbur Wright in a letter to Octave Chanute in May 1900.  (Octave Chanute Papers: Special Correspondence–Wright Brothers, 1900, in […]

The Parker Solar Probe, Mission to “Touch the Sun”: December 6 NASA Lecture with Dr. Alex Young

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. One of NASA’s most exciting missions, the Parker Solar Probe (PSP) launched from Cape Canaveral on August 12, 2018. The mission’s findings will help researchers improve forecasts of space weather events, which have the potential to damage satellites, […]

The ICESat Man Cometh: Lecture November 8 with NASA’s Tom Neumann

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. On November 8 the Library will welcome cryospheric scientist Tom Neumann, who will speak on “GRACE-FO and ICESat-2:  NASA’s Leadership in Monitoring the Polar Regions from Space.”  Dr. Neumann is deputy project scientist on ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud, and […]

NASA Astrobiologist Melissa Trainer to Speak at the Library October 11 on Titan: An Exotic Ocean World Waiting to be Explored

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division. Before the twenty years of the Cassini-Huygens mission, little was known about Saturn’s largest moon Titan, except that it was Mercury-sized and its surface was hidden beneath a thick, nitrogen-rich atmosphere. The Cassini mission mapped Titan’s surface, studied […]