An Annotated Bibliography of the Apollo Program/Popular Culture and Promotion
Atwill, William Dorsey. "Fire and Power: Narratives of the Space Age." Ph.D. Diss. Duke University, 1990. A deconstructive analysis of the space program using Apollo images and rhetoric.
Bainbridge, William Sims. "The Impact of Science Fiction on Attitudes Toward Technology." In Emme, Eugene M. Editor. Science Fiction and Space Futures, Past and Present. San Diego, CA: AAS History Series, Vol. 5, American Astronauti- cal Society, 1982. Pp. 121-35. In this article the author challenges the traditional interpretation that science fiction informs the reader about science and propagandiz- es in favor of technological progress. Instead, he finds that new schools of science fiction sometimes promulgate entirely different sets of values based on an anti- technology bias. Even so, Bainbridge documents the close linkage between science fiction as a promoter of spaceflight and other technological advances. Such a linkage was present in the Apollo program of the 1960s.
_____. The Spaceflight Revolution: A Sociological Study. New York: Wiley- Interscience, 1976. Reprint, Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, 1983. This important but not entirely persuasive sociological study traces the development of the idea of spaceflight from its science-fictional beginnings through the rise of mass market magazines and compares it with the actual fact of spaceflight as it emerged in the 1960s. The author finds that a conspiracy of technological zealots manipulated the U.S. government to create an organization and fund an aggressive lunar landing program. Bainbridge asserts that "Not the public will, but private fanaticism drove men to the moon" (p. 1). The book's strength rests on Bainbridge's analysis of the American and British Interplanetary Societies, the science fiction subculture, the "Committee of the Future" (1970-1974) of the World Future Society, and the role of "fandom" in promoting spaceflight. This type of analysis, while useful, is not carefully tied to the development of public policy relating to the space program. In spite of the argument's other attractions, Bainbridge does not convincingly demonstrate how the "space boosters" were able to create Project Apollo and to persuade President Kennedy to announce his lunar decision in 1961.
de Bergerac, Cyrano. Voyage dans la Lune (The Voyage to the Moon). Paris, 1649. This books describes a fictional trip to the Moon by propulsion from firecrackers. As soldiers lit fuses to the firecrackers, the hero jumped into a gondola and tier upon tier of explosives ignited like rockets and launched him to the Moon. Thus Cyrano's hero became the first flyer in fiction to reach the Moon by means of rocket thrust, a premonition of Newton's third law of gravity about every action having an equal and opposite reaction. Once on the Moon, the character in this novel had several adventures, and later in the book he also journeyed to the Sun.
Braun, Wernher von. "Crossing the Last Frontier." Collier's. 22 March 1952, pp. 24-29, 72-73. Featuring illustrations by Chesley Bonestell, this was one of several articles written by von Braun, then technical director of the Army Ordnance Guided Missiles Development Group at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, to generate enthusiasm in the United States for a spaceflight program that would land humans on the Moon. This and related efforts were critical in increasing public belief in the possibility of reaching the Moon, although it took the launching of Sputnik by the Soviets to propel the United States to establish a space program and the election of John F. Kennedy as president to establish a landing on the Moon within a decade as the goal of the Apollo program. Here, von Braun provided details about a space station he envisioned as "either the greatest force for peace ever devised, or one of the most terrible weapons of war--depending on who makes and controls it." This evocation of the Cold War was characteristic of the times and proved a formidable tactic in generating support for U.S. space efforts. While he spoke of the possible use of the station as a platform for the launching of atomic bombs, however, he also described peaceful, scientific uses of the station, such as meteorological observa- tions.
Braun, Wernher von. "Man on the Moon: The Journey." Collier's. 18 October 1952, pp. 52-59. With illustrations by Chesley Bonestell, this was another of the articles von Braun wrote to promote the spaceflight movement. This particular article set forth in understandable terms many of the technological details von Braun expected a voyage to the Moon to involve. While some of them proved not to be prophetic, they were graphic and helped to grip the imaginations of the American public.
Braun, Wernher von, and Ordway, Frederick I., III. Space Travel (New York: Harper & Row, 1985). This update of History of Rocketry & Space Travel contains an excellent summary of the early visions of space flight and the execution of Project Apollo.
Bush, George. "Remarks by the President at 20th Anniversary of Apollo Moon Landing." National Air and Space Museum, July 20, 1989. Copy available in NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. At this anniversary celebration, President Bush recalled the excitement of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and endorsed NASA's long-range plan, the Space Exploration Initiative, an ambitious effort that would return Americans to the Moon, establish a lunar base, and, then, using a NASA-built space station, send human expeditions to the planet Mars. In advancing SEI, Bush followed the classic script for exercising leadership in space. He made a Kennedy-like announcement, complete with a strong personal commitment, proposing the initiative during a major address commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the first landing on the Moon delivered from the steps of the National Air and Space Museum with the Apollo 11 astronauts at his side.
Cooke, Hereward Lester, with the collaboration of Dean, James D. Eyewitness to Space: Paintings and Drawings Related to the Apollo Mission to the Moon Selected, with a Few Exceptions, from the Art Program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1963 to 1969). Foreword by J. Carter Brown. Preface by Thomas O. Paine. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1971. A collection of 258 paintings and drawings in reproduction, created by a variety of artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to Chesley Bonestell. A magnificent and variegated collection.
Crouch, Tom D. "`To Fly to the Moon': Cosmic Voyaging in Fact and Fiction from Lucian to Sputnik." In Emme, Eugene M. Editor. Science Fiction and Space Futures, Past and Present. San Diego, CA: AAS History Series, Vol. 5, American Astronautical Society, 1982. Pp. 7-26. In this article Crouch traces the impact of science fiction on space pioneers like Robert H. Goddard.
Clarke, Arthur C. The Exploration of Space. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951. In this book a senior science fiction writer provided both fiction and non- fiction in one of the more representative attempts to build realistic expectations of space travel. Although largely concerned with space technology, the sequence of chapters in this influential book laid out a blueprint for the future of space exploration that included a lunar landing on the Moon and eventual colonies.
_____. Going Into Space. Los Angeles: Trend Books, 1954. A soft-cover, well- illustrated, comic-like book laying out "thrilling material" on "man's interplanetary future" for "avid space enthusiasts." One of a number of easy-to-read "dime store" books on the future of space exploration that appeared in the 1950s and early 1960s. It emphasized the attraction of the Moon as a place to locate an Earth colony and as a jumping-off place to the remainder of the Solar System.
"Columbuses of Space." New York Times. December 22, 1968. This important editorial compares the flight of Apollo 8, the first circumlunar mission, to the first voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492.
Crichton, Michael. The Andromeda Strain. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969. Inspired by the failure of Biosatellite I in 1966, Crichton's fictional account of an alien organism run amok contributed to public concern about extraterrestrial contamination and NASA's decision to quarantine the first three astronaut crews to return from the Moon.
Disney Productions, Walt. Man and the Moon. 1955. Originally produced to promote the Disneyland theme park, this widely-viewed television program on "Walt Disney Presents" sported the powerful image of a wheel-like space station as a launching point for a mission to the Moon. This production included a cameo by Wernher von Braun who explained the technical details of a lunar landing mission. The episode deliberately sought to shape public opinion and influence government policy.
Donovan, Robert J. "Moon Voyage Turns Men's Thoughts Inward." Los Angeles Times. December 29, 1968. This editorial reflects on the religious and spiritual significance of Apollo 8.
Drury, Allen. The Throne of Saturn. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1971. This work, appearing at essentially the same as the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon, is a fictional story of the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union over space exploration. It focuses on the end of the Apollo program and the continuing race into space in the post-lunar landing era. Drury uses the novel to ask the question, why do humans need to be in space? He argues the issue back and forth, never giving a definitive answer.
Durant, Frederick C., III, and Miller, Ron. World's Beyond: The Art of Chesley Bonestell. Norfolk: Donning, 1983. Bonestell's paintings helped to create realistic expectations of space between the 1940s and the 1960s. They were a powerful means of demonstrating to the public the reality of spaceflight that led to the Apollo decision.
"Footprints in the Dirty Sand." Washington Post. December 28, 1968, p. A10. This editorial demonstrates that the wonders of the flight of Apollo 8 even impressed the normally critical editorial writers at the Washington Post.
Goddard, Robert H. A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 71, Number 2, 1919. In this monograph, one of the most important in his career, Goddard argued from a firm theoretical base that rockets could be used to explore the upper atmosphere. Moreover, he suggested that with a velocity of 6.95 miles/second, without air resistance, an object could escape Earth's gravity and head into infinity, or to other celestial bodies. He also suggested launching a rocket to the Moon with flash powder that would ignite on contact as a means of tracking it. Although Goddard refused to work with other scientists to develop American rocketry, remaining essentially a lone inventor, this paper and his example did help inspire others to follow in his footsteps.
Goldstein, Lawrence. Editor. "The Moon Landing and its Aftermath." Michigan Quarterly, 8 (Spring 1979): 153-363. This collection of art, poems, letters, essays, and other articles takes up the entire issue. Together it could be described as a cultural reaction to Apollo 11 and the overall lunar landing program.
Haggerty, James J. "Apollo: End of a Beginning--Will Mankind Nurture the Seed?" Aerospace Perspectives, 2 (March 1973): unpaginated. Discusses the general history of Apollo and then makes a case for the continuation of an aggressive space exploration program.
Horrigan, Brian. "Popular Culture and Visions of the Future in Space, 1901-2001." In Sinclair, Bruce. Editor. New Perspectives on Technology and American Culture. (Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1986). Pp. 49-67. A sophisticated treatment of the influence of popular culture upon the space program, including Apollo, with treatment of science fiction in literature, the movies, and television.
Kasson, John. Amusing the Millions. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978. In 1903 the creators of "A Trip to the Moon" opened Luna Park, a fantasy-like setting, described in Kasson's book. Fifty million people visited the park in its first five years.
Krugman, Herbert E. "Public Attitudes Toward the Apollo Space Program, 1965-1975." Journal of Communication. 27 (Autumn 1977): 87-93. Results from a four-times yearly Trendex poll that surveyed support for the U.S. space program over the Apollo era. The poll found that less than half of the people in the U.S. supported the level of spending necessary to accomplish Project Apollo, but that an overwhelming number supported the idea of landing on the Moon.
Kauffman, James Lee. "Selling Space: The Kennedy Administration, the Media, and Congressional Funding for Project Apollo, 1961-1963." Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University, 1989. This is a sophisticated discussion of the efforts by NASA and the White House to continue ensuring that sufficient public support was present for Project Apollo so that resources would be allocated to it by Congress. It deals only with the Kennedy administration, however, and therefore leaves out the most interesting part of this story, the efforts to keep the project moving forward expeditiously after its newness had worn off and after other priorities had emerged for which dollars were needed.
Kepler, Johann. Kepler's Somnium: The Dream or Posthumous Work on Lunar Astronomy. Translated by Edward Rosen. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1967, pp. 17-122. Although technology did not develop to the extent that actual travel to the Moon could take place, for centuries people posited that it was theoretically possible and longed for the time when it would happen. When Galileo first broadcast his findings about the solar system in 1610, he sparked a flood of speculation about lunar flight. Johann Kepler, himself a pathbreaking astronomer, posthumously published a novel, Somnium (Dream) (1634), that recounted a dream of a supernatural voyage to the Moon in which the visitors encountered serpentine creatures. He also included much scientific information in the book, speculating on the difficulties of overcoming the Earth's gravitational field, the nature of the elliptical paths of planets, the problems of maintaining life in the vacuum of space, and the geographical features of the Moon.
Krug, Linda T., Presidential Perspectives on Space Exploration: Guiding Metaphors from Eisenhower to Bush. New York: Praeger, 1991. This important study assesses the use of language in building and maintaining support for aggressive space activities. The centerpiece of this study is the successful use of language to ensure that Project Apollo was carried out within the time constraints mandated by President Kennedy in 1961.
Lasser, David. The Conquest of Space. New York: Penguin, 1931. This is the first realistic non-fiction book on space travel written in the English language. It was authored by the founder of the American Interplanetary Society. Lasser was also the first editor of Amazing Stories. One of the centerpieces of this book was a trip to the Moon.
Ley, Willy. Rockets. New York: Viking Press, 1944. A German emigr‚, Ley labored to convince interested readers that rockets would soon be able to carry humans off the surface of the Earth and to the Moon. This was one of the earliest books on rocketry for the general American public, serving as a basic reference source for future science fiction and reality writing.
Ley, Willy. Rockets, Missiles, and Men in Space. New York: Viking Press, 1968. This is the fourth and final edition of 21 printings of the work first published as Rockets. It emphasizes the possibilities of space flight as a reality rather than science fiction. Ley came to the U.S. in 1935, and this book became of the most significant textbooks available in the mid-twentieth century on the possibilities of space travel. Once again, the book emphasizes the importance of a trip to the Moon as the first step by humanity off the Earth and into the universe.
Ley, Willy, and Bonestell, Chesley. The Conquest of Space. New York: Viking Press, 1949. A best-selling book containing Bonestell's fantastic depictions of the Earth and the Moon. The oblique paintings of the Moon from lunar space gave the public a view remarkably like the one that NASA would provide more than a decade later after its first landing there with the Surveyor space probe.
MacLeish, Archibald. "A Reflection: Riders on Earth Together, Brothers in Eternal Cold." New York Times, December 25, 1968. This is a poet's comments on the significance of seeing the Earth "as it truly is," during the Christmas flight of Apollo 8. MacLeish summed up the feelings of many people when he wrote at the time of the Apollo 8 circumlunar flight, that "To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold--brothers who know now that they are truly brothers."
"Man Will Conquer Space Soon." Collier's. March 22, 1952; plus October 18, 1952, October 25, 1952, February 28, 1953, March 7, 1953, March 14, 1953, June 27, 1953, April 30, 1954, and June 25, 1954. This famous Collier's magazine series of articles helped to build public interest in space exploration by declaring its "inevitability."
Mazlish, Bruce. Editor. The Railroad and the Space Program: An Exploration in Historical Analogy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965. This is an attempt to document the "social inventions" generated by the railroad in American history with those of the space program as manifested especially in Project Apollo. While the book deals largely with the development of railroads, they do not provide, Mazlish argues in the introduction, a useful comparison with the space program and therefore demonstrates the limitations of historical analogy.
Michaud, Michael A.G. "The New Demographics of Space." Aviation Space. 2 (Fall 1984): 46-47. Updates to 1981 the results of polling on American support for the U.S. space program originally reported in the Krugman article.
_____. Reaching for the High Frontier: The American Pro-Space Movement, 1972- 1984. New York: Praeger, 1986. Michaud presents a cogent history of and commentary on the pro-space efforts made by voluntary organizations that arose near the end of the Apollo program. Michaud identifies the key groups, traces their origins and goals, and describes how they had a subtle but critical influence on the space policy of the nation during the late 1960s and early 1970s. These groups lobbied with Congress and used publicity to support the space effort, not always with the expected results, however. Their intent was to turn ideas and a diffuse pro- space sentiment into legislation aimed at building support for NASA's program. This book represents the first systematic attempt to analyze the space booster efforts of the latter 1960s and the 1970s, and although a fine contribution, it should not be the final word on the subject.
Michener, James A. "Looking Toward Space." Omni. May 1980, pp. 57-58, 121. This fine article hits home to the heart of the American sense of pioneering and argues that the next great challenge in this arena is space. "A nation that loses its forward thrust is in danger," he comments; "the way to retain it is exploration" (p. 58). It is an eloquent and moving defense of the American space program in all its permutations.
_____. "Manifest Destiny." Omni. April 1981, pp. 48-50, 102-104. An outstanding reading experience, this article, by the dean of American popular novelists, encapsulates all the most cherished principles for manned space flight. It is human destiny to explore, he notes, and space is the next logical path. He recounts the success of Apollo as the first step in humanity's movement beyond the Earth.
Miller, Ron, and Durant, Frederick C., III. "Lunar Fantasies: The Story of the First Great Moon Expedition-- of 1978." Omni. February 1987, pp. 50-55. This is a short summary of the lunar expedition outlined by von Braun and other writers for the Collier's series.
Mueller, George E. "The Space Program: Future Plans," delivered before the International Air Transport Association, Amsterdam, October 23, 1969. Available in the NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. In this classic but erroneous statement on the future of space exploration, the head of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight predicted that more than 200 people would be living in space--in Earth and lunar orbit or on the Moon-- by the mid-1980s.
Nicholson, Marjorie. Voyages to the Moon. New York: Macmillan, 1948. This little-known book describes the possibility of spaceflight and a landing on the Moon.
O'Neill, Gerard K. The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. New York: William Morrow, 1976. A tract by the leader of the space colonization movement, this book suggests that the U.S. should build on the success of Apollo with lunar colonies from which the rest of the Solar System could be explored.
Ordway, Frederick I., III, and Liebermann, Randy. Editors. Blueprint for Space: Science Fiction to Science Fact. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992. This recent collection of articles by a wide range of contributors runs the gamut from visions of space flight to projections for the future. Most of the contributions are rather undetailed and consist mostly of overviews of their subjects, but they are written by such well-known figures as Ben Bova, Sam Moskowitz, Frank Winter, Ernst Stuhlinger, Fred L. Whipple, John M. Logsdon, Sally K. Ride, and Thomas O. Paine, as well as the editors, with Liebermann offering a discussion of "The Collier's and Disney Series," especially relevant to this section of the bibliography. There are also brief bibliographies at the ends of articles, and the book is lavishly illustrated.
Ordway, Frederick I., III; Adams, Carsbie C.; and Sharpe, Mitchell R. Dividends from Space. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1972. This is an attempt to show that the costs of the space program have been more than returned in benefits to humanity, both tangible and intangible. The authors discuss at length the use of space systems to improve weather forecasting, facilitate communications, and inventory Earth resources. They also emphasize the development of the technological base with such major programs as Project Apollo.
Paine, Thomas O., "1969: A Space Odyssey," address to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Washington, DC, November 7, 1968. Copy available in NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. This speech details the efforts of NASA to land astronauts on the Moon in 1969 from the perspective of the NASA administrator at the time.
_____. Pioneering the Space Frontier: The Report of the National Commission on Space. New York: Bantam Books, 1986. In 1984 Congress passed a bill requiring the president to name a National Commission on Space to develop a future space agenda for the United States. The White House in March 1985 chose Thomas O. Paine as chairman of the Commission. Since leaving NASA fifteen years earlier, Paine had been a tireless spokesman for an expansive view of what should be done in space. The fourteen other commissioners were a diverse group, ranging from Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong and test pilot Chuck Yeager to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeanne Kirkpatrick. After a year's study the Commission published a lavishly illustrated, glossy book endorsing "a pioneering mission for 21st-century America"--"to lead the exploration and development of the space frontier, advancing science, technology, and enterprise, and building institutions and systems that make accessible vast new resources and support human settlements beyond Earth orbit, from the highlands of the Moon to the plains of Mars." The report also contained a "Declaration for Space" that included a rationale for exploring and settling the Solar System and outlined a long-range space program for the United States.
Pendray, G. Edward. "Next Stop the Moon." Collier's. September 1946, pp. 11- 13. Six years prior to the famous "Man Will Conquer Space Soon" series, this article argued that the Moon contained "riches beyond your wildest dreams" and advocated its exploration.
Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, 1969. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1971, p. 542. Nixon's statement that the Apollo 11 voyage was so significant that it constituted the greatest week in human history since the creation.
Pyne, Stephen J. "Space: A Third Great Age of Discovery." Space Policy. 4 (August 1988): 187-99. In this article, Pyne suggests that the world has known three great ages of exploration: (1) the circumnavigation of the globe, with its attendant discovery of new lands; (2) the traversing and cataloguing of newly-found continents; and (3) the exploration of the uninhabited regions of Antarctica, the deep ocean basins, and outer space. The author points to the culturally and historically determined nature of discovery, which has thus far been largely a Western phenomenon, but emphasizes the qualitatively different character of space exploration, which takes the Earth, rather than any particular part of it, as its starting point, and which sets forth to chart regions that are probably abiotic.
Redford, Emmette, and White, Orion F. What Manned Space Program After Reaching the Moon? Government Attempts to Decide, 1962-1968. Syracuse, NY: The Inter-University Case Program, January 1971. Limited edition study of the efforts of NASA and other government agencies to determine what policies and programs it should pursue for the future space program. It is especially helpful as a statement of where leaders thought the U.S. should be going at the very time the debate over NASA's goals after Apollo was taking place.
"Return from the Moon." New York Times. December 28, 1968. A Times editorial in which the writers called Apollo 8 "the most fantastic voyage of all times."
Roberts, Christopher B. "NASA and the Loss of Space Policy Leadership." Technology in Society. 12 (1990): 139-55. Since the days of Apollo, NASA's efforts have consistently exceeded the willingness of the political consensus to provide adequate funding. As a result of the failure of U.S. leadership, including that within NASA, to fully comprehend the political dimensions of the space program, the U.S. effort has drifted and the nation lost the commanding role it had with the success of Apollo. In this chapter, the author develops a new analytical framework for NASA's development and management of the space program, focusing on the dominance of bureaucratic goals over program goals.
Roland, Alex. "Barnstorming in Space: The Rise and Fall of the Romantic Era of Spaceflight, 1957-1986." In Byerly, Radford, Jr. Editor. Space Policy Reconsid- ered. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989. Pp. 33-52. In this article Alex Roland, a leading critic of NASA's human spaceflight program, argues that NASA is wedded to a large and expensive astronaut program, despite budgetary and program realities, because of its longstanding vision of what the space program should be. Roland asserts that in the post-Challenger era since 1986 the U.S. is between the first and second stages of spaceflight. In that first stage, the romantic "barnstorming" stage of rollicking excitement and wasted energies, the focus was on the initial departure from planet Earth. A centerpiece of that romantic era of spaceflight, marked as it was by a series of specular events, was Project Apollo and the landing on the Moon. The second stage is undefined, but Roland contends that it will be different from the earlier era and marked by gradual development and practical application of space technology.
Ryan, Cornelius. Editor. Conquest of the Moon. New York: Viking Press, 1953. Expanded version of a series of scientific articles that appeared in Col- lier's under the title "Man on the Moon" in 1952. Includes articles by Willy Ley, Wernher von Braun, and Fred Whipple, as well as illustrations by Chesley Bonestell.
Sharpe, Mitchell R. Living in Space: The Astronaut and his Environment. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1969. Discusses biomedical and psychological aspects of spaceflight as well as the perils and advantages of doing it. Presents a strong argument for expanding human spaceflight through a rigorous Apollo program and aggressive efforts thereafter.
Shea, Joseph F., "Manned Space Flight Program," address delivered at the Third National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space, May 6, 1963, NASA News Release. Copy available in NASA Historical Reference Collection, NASA History Office, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. The Deputy Director of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight considers space exploration as a matter of national survival and applauds President Kennedy's decision to undertake Project Apollo on an aggressive timetable.
Shelton, William R. "Science and Fantasy, A Chronicle of Space." In Shelton, William R. Man's Conquest of Space. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 1968. Shelton recounts the events and people that have inspired space flight on the eve of the Apollo expeditions to the Moon.
Sidey, Hugh. "Pioneers in Love with the Frontier." Time. 10 February 1986, pp. 46-47. This thoughtful discussion of the development of the U.S. space program emphasizes the role of the frontier and the exploration imperative in the United States. Sidey, an extremely articulate commentator, suggests that nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice. This was a response to the naysayers of the space program after the January 1986 Challenger accident but emphasizes the 1961 Apollo decision of President Kennedy as the quintessential statement of a vision of exploring the unknown.
Smith, Michael L. "Selling the Moon: The U.S. Manned Space Program and the Triumph of Commodity Scientism." In Fox, Richard Wrightman, and Lears, T.J. Jackson. Editors. The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983. Pp. 177-209. Part of a larger collection about advertising and American culture, this article analyzes the role of NASA, the aerospace industry, and political leaders in building support for Project Apollo. The author asserts that Apollo provides a useful vehicle for analyzing the evolution of consumer culture in the 1960s. Its social function, its publicists, and the form of presentation approximated those of the most highly developed communication medium in American culture: advertizing. In the process the program accomplished its purpose; it articulated to the world "an image of national purpose [in the U.S.] that equated technological preeminence with military, ideological, and cultural supremacy" (p. 177).
Smith, Ralph A. The Exploration of the Moon. London: Frederich Muller, Ltd., 1954. With text by Arthur C. Clarke. In this popular work on space, paintings by British artist Ralph Smith dominated the book, with Arthur Clarke arguing that "there are no insuperable obstacles on the road to the planets" and asserting that an aggressive space exploration should begin with trips to the Moon.
Thomas, Davis. Editor. Moon: Man's Greatest Adventure. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1970. A large-format, illustrated work, the centerpiece of this book consists of three major essays. One, by Fred A. Whipple, Harvard University astronomer, describes the possibilities of space flight for scientific inquiry. Another by Silvio A. Bedini, at the Smithsonian Institution, deals with the Moon's role in human affairs. A final article by Wernher von Braun of NASA analyzes Project Apollo and its execution in the 1960s.
"Topics of the Times." New York Times. January 13, 1920, p. 12. Reprinted in Clarke, Arthur C. Editor. The Coming of the Space Age. New York: Meredith Press, 1967. This is a New York Times editorial that was written in response to Robert H. Goddard's 1919 Smithsonian Institution publication, A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. It doubts that Goddard's rockets could be used to reach the Moon, since according to the Times editorial writers, there is no air in space against which the rocket could push. It referred to Goddard as a dreamer whose ideas had no scientific validity. It also compared his theories to those advanced by novelist Jules Verne, indicating that such musing is "pardonable enough in him as a romancer, but its like is not so easily explained when made by a savant who isn't writing a novel of adventure." The Times also questioned both Goddard's credentials as a scientist and the Smithsonian's rationale for funding his research and publishing his results.
Verne, Jules. De la Terre … la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon). Paris: J. Hetzel, 1866. This is a pathbreaking work of science fiction that incorporat- ed a more sophisticated understanding of the realities of space flight than had been seen before. His space vehicle was enclosed and powered by electricity, and it possessed some aerodynamic soundness. This book described the problems of building a vehicle and launch mechanism to visit the Moon. At the end of the book, Verne's characters were shot into space by a 900-foot-long cannon. Verne picked up the story in a second novel, Autour de la Lune (Around the Moon), describing a lunar orbital flight, but he did not allow his characters actually to land.
Von Braun, Wernher, and Ryan, C. "Can We Get To Mars?" Colliers. 30 April 1954, pp. 22-29. During the Second World War German scientists, including Wernher von Braun, began testing spacecraft models based on S„nger's concepts as well as theories of their own. This article popularized the idea of a reusable earth-to-orbit space transportation system.
Wells, H.G. The First Men in the Moon. London: George Newness, 1901. This is a pioneering work of science fiction that described in detail the method of reaching the Moon and encounters with aliens there.
Wright, Mike. "The Disney-Von Braun Collaboration and Its Influence on Space Exploration." In Schenker, Daniel; Hanks, Craig; Kray, Susan. Editors. Inner Space, Outer Space: Humanities, Technology, and the Postmodern World. Huntsville, AL: Southern Humanities Conference, 1993, pp. 151-60. This is a solid discussion of the role of Walt Disney and Wernher von Braun in promoting space exploration in the 1950s through a series of three segments on Disney's weekly television program. The second of these segments dealt with a human flight to the Moon.
Wilson, Charles Reagan. "American Heavens: Apollo and the Civil Religion." Journal of Church and State. 26 (Spring 1984): 209-26. Applying the concept of American civil religion--a set of values and ethical beliefs--to Project Apollo, the author finds that the effort revealed an important link between science and technology, religion, and American self-understanding. He suggests that Apollo participants tied religion and science together in a surprising way. He concluded: "One sees elements of both a rational religion, which can be traced back to the Enlightenment, and an evangelical religion, which has been the nation's culturally dominent religious force through most of American history" (p. 210). Wilson explores the intriguing questions of rhetoric and belief, ritual and symbolism within the context of the U.S. Apollo program.