Review: Two Sides of the Moon by David Scott and Alexei Leonov

A bonus Monday Morning Moonshot review for you, from two of the best spacemen out there.

In all, its heavy going – certainly not for everyone.

It follows the space race from the point of view of two of the guys at the sharp end of it – Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and US Astronaut David Scott. They were real pioneers; Leonov was the first guy to actually get outside of his spaceship and float around up there. Just look:

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Beautiful, eh? (You can see full footage of Leonov’s spacewalk here if you’re interested)

On the US side of things, David Scott actually got to go to the moon on Apollo 15 – he’s the guy who dropped the hammer and feather together for a quick experiment and got to drive that little buggy up there:

apollo-15-david-scott-lunar-rover

Cool eh? (If you’re really interested in his hammer and feather thing, have a look here).

This an indepth look at what these guys went through to get there – from little boys dreaming of flying, to the pinnacle of human achievement (the story of Leonov’s rise from poverty in particular is amazing).

Anyway, it’s pretty dense – I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone unless space exploration holds a special fascination for you. But there are some brilliant parts in it, and it drives home how dangerous the whole thing was (Leonov was nearly killed at least three times).

I’ve a few favourite bits to this: for David Scott it’s the transformation from all-American-fly-boy-hero to fully-fledged-moon-geologist-scientist during the Apollo moon landings. For Leonov, it’s his first spacewalk, where bad things happen and he has to sort it all out himself.

Kind of recommended, if you’re brave enough. If not, then a documentary will be just as good I reckon.

The best read about anything to do with the space is still the Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe – if you’re looking for a starting place make it that (definitely better than any documentary). If you want to shed some light on the origins of the space race, then Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski is the one for you.

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