Armchair astronomers will have no shortage of options this month, as every network seems to be sprinting to cover the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. From archival footage to new interviews, planetary astronomy to CGI recreations, there’s absolutely something for everyone. So strap in and prepare to blast off with more space-themed content than any human being could possibly watch. (Maybe the aliens can?)
“Nova: Back to the Moon”
July 10, PBS, 8 p.m.
While most of these specials focus on the past, “Nova: Back to the Moon” plants its focus squarely on the future. It features scientists explaining why we need to return to the moon, and what could be done to allow it to sustain human life.
“Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes”
July 14, History, 10 p.m.
It’s easy to romanticize the moon landing as a glorious triumph, but it certainly didn’t feel like that for the astronauts. This special utilizes previously unseen footage to show the incredibly difficult preparation process that preceded the mission.
“8 Days: To the Moon and Back”
July 17, PBS, 9 p.m.
One of the most unique specials airing this month, “8 Days: To the Moon and Back” takes newly unearthed audio footage and combines it with reenactments and CGI replications of the moon landing.
“Wonders of the Moon”
July 19, BBC America, 10 p.m.
While other specials are focusing on the Apollo 11 mission, this is about the moon itself. Highlighting all of the different appearances the moon can take on, this one is for the astronomy lover in your life.
“NASA’s Giant Leaps: Past and Future – Celebrating Apollo 50th as We Go Forward to the Moon”
July 19, Science Channel, 1 p.m.
This live broadcast will celebrate NASA’s rich history, and give a preview of where the organization is going next. Segments will be filmed in Washington, Houston, and Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio.
“Apollo: The Forgotten Films”
July 20, Discovery, 8 p.m.
With tens of thousands of hours of archival footage, there was room for more than one documentary made up of lost tapes. This one is airing on Discovery.
“Confessions From Space: Apollo”
July 20, Discovery, 10 p.m.
This special documents the 115th Explorers Club Dinner, which honored the surviving astronauts from the Apollo 11 mission. Buzz Aldrin and friends reminisce and dish out stories from the adventure of a lifetime.
“The Day We Walked On the Moon”
July 20, Smithsonian Channel, 11 p.m.
This documentary interviews Americans about their reaction to the moon landing, as they reflect on one of the greatest days in the country’s history.
July 20, CNN, 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.
CNN is re-airing its feature length documentary about the moon mission, created with 11,000 hours of newly-discovered audio.
“Nova: The Planets”
July 24, PBS, 9 p.m.
Why stop at the moon? This seven-part series provides an in-depth look at the planets in our solar system, which could be the next frontier in space exploration.
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