Making the Grades
Space buffs will want to clear a spot on their collection shelf for this TV documentary series narrated by actor Gary Sinise. When We Left Earth faithfully recounts The NASA Missions through archival footage and interviews with many of the people behind the history-making events.
Episode 1 introduces the Ordinary Supermen comprising Mercury Seven, the first American astronauts to be chosen. With the US lagging behind the Russians, and President J.F. Kennedy promising to go to the moon, these former test pilots become the forerunners (and the human guinea pigs) of the team of experts applying their skills to solving the problems of putting a man in space.
In Episode 2, Friends and Rivals, NASA picks a second group of astronauts assigned to the Gemini Project. Their job is to practice all of the various maneuvers deemed necessary to get a ship and crew from Earth to the surface of the moon and back home again.
The third episode, Landing the Eagle begins with the Apollo program preparing to capture the historic title of the first man on the moon. Instead, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee become the first American astronauts to die. Despite this tragedy, the space program continues to peruse its goal.
After successfully landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface, NASA sends more Explorers (Episode 4) and prepares to launch Skylab. But not all of their missions go as planned, especially the unlucky Apollo 13.
Thinking recycling, NASA creates a new brand of spacecraft: The Shuttle. Episode 5 traces the development and testing of this new reusable vehicle, and tracks its scientific contributions and sad failures (like the 1986 Challenger Disaster).
Finally, Episode 6 looks at making A Home In Space. From the Hubble telescope (faulty mirror and all) to the International Space Station, these orbiting observation posts give mankind a chance to experience new frontiers.
Retelling these moments in an engaging style, this 4-disc set will give youngsters a great overview of the amazing accomplishments of America’s space program. It will also provide armchair astronauts with a ringside seat to these historic missions. And both are likely to see clips and hear anecdotes they have never witnessed before.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about When We Left Earth - The NASA Missions.
What is it about space that captures the imagination of so many human beings? Why do you think some of that fascination wore off as the NASA missions progressed? How do you feel about the amount of money it takes to pursue our exploration of the universe?