Apollo 11: First Steps & Q&A (Science Museum IMAX)

This week is the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, and the Science Museum’s Summer of Space continues with this event – the screening of the ‘First Steps’ edition of Apollo 11, a film by Todd Douglas Miller, and a Q&A with astronaut Helen Sharman and veteran broadcaster James Burke.

The film itself is edited for maximum tension and excitement, with musical cues, split screens, cross-cutting and footage from launch, flight and landing of the historic mission. I wasn’t around in 1969 but my husband was a child at the time and remembers school projects, Airfix models and TV reconstructions of a time where space travel was seen as the future of mankind.

Sharman and Burke’s insights on space travel was engrossing, with the former discussing issues around her work on the British-Soviet programme in 1991, her intensive training, and the lack of fear felt by astronauts because of the need to trust the team around them, and the latter recalling the access he had to simulations and areas in Houston, the threat of nuclear attack during the Cold War, plus the first all-night TV broadcast on the day Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon.

The future was discussed, too, with Manchester University’s recent breakthrough in nanotechnology which would cut costs of machine production and what can be achieved, and the likelihood of China reaching Mars while the Western nations concentrate on sorting out climate and pollution on Earth.

An interesting and focused evening, with, of course, great IMAX visuals.