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Moonshots on your computer

Neil Armstrong / NASA
Electronic equipment and switches surround astronaut Buzz Aldrin in Apollo 11's
lunar module, nicknamed Eagle, before the moon landing in 1969. Over the past
40 years there have been big changes in computers — and in the amount of
information available on computers about the Apollo moonshots.


Forty years ago, the world watched the Apollo 11 moon landing on television sets and giant screens. This year, the tale of the moonshot is being retold on computer monitors and mobile phones. Here's a Top 10 list of online destinations celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11:

Voyage of the Millennium: Our three-part audio slideshow about the Apollo 11 experience is a decade old - but it's still a beaut, in my humble opinion. Photojournalist Roger Ressmeyer went through stacks of NASA images and selected his favorites, tracing the buildup to Apollo 11, the high points of the mission itself and its aftermath. In the audio soundtrack, he tells the story behind each picture. Maximize your browser window to make sure you have all the buttons to play the audio and click through the slideshow.

Apollo video online: Don't miss this 43-minute documentary from MSNBC's "Time and Again" about America's space effort and Apollo 11 in particular (complete with Huntley and Brinkley!). Here's a 10-minute Apollo retrospective from NASA. For a different take on the TV coverage, check out the BBC's archive of Apollo coverage. Spacecraft Films' documentary, "Live From the Moon," focuses on how Apollo played out on television. (I mentioned this show and others last week in my Apollo video roundup.)

Apollo at 40 at NASA: The space agency itself has the biggest store of online material about the moon missions. NASA's Apollo 40th Anniversary Web site serves as the portal to old and new goodies. There's a separate Web page devoted to the Apollo program. The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal is the jewel in NASA's crown, offering mission logs, photos and lots of "fun stuff." But wait ... there's more: Check out the JSC Digital Image Collection as well as the Apollo archive on the Human Spaceflight Web site.

Project Apollo Archive: This Web site would have to rank right up there with the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal as a must-see archive of moonshot lore. Kipp Teague has put together an exhaustive repository of imagery from before, during and after the Apollo missions.

We Choose the Moon: The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum's Apollo Web site is offering a Twitter re-enactment of the mission, timed to tell you what happened exactly 40 years before. Actually, make that two re-enactments. One Twitter tale is told from the perspective of Mission Control, and the other Twitter feed takes on the crew's persona. You can also download a widget to track the time-warp mission, get e-mail updates and watch a video of President Kennedy's "We Choose to Go to the Moon" speech.

Apollo at the Smithsonian: The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum serves as the main repository for Apollo artifacts, so it's only fitting that the museum has opened a virtual exhibit hall commemorating the moonshots. You'll find an interactive timeline, images, videos and podcasts - and a plea for personal recollections about 100 items in the museum's collection.

ApolloPlus40 on Twitter: Like the Kennedy Library, the journal Nature's Web site is tweeting Apollo 11 events in a 40-year time warp. The Nature News staff is also blogging about Project Apollo and its legacy.

Apollo 11 on Facebook: You just knew there had to be a Facebook page for the Apollo 11 mission. You'll also find Facebook pages for moonshot memories and last weekend's "Echoes of Apollo" radio experiment. NASA's latest moon probes, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the LCROSS moon-smashing spacecraft, have their own pages.

Bad Astronomy: Are there still some people who think the moon landings didn't really happen? If so, you should point them toward astronomer Phil Plait's classic guide to debunking moon-hoax claims. Did I mention that Phil is a blogger and author, too? Consider it mentioned.

CollectSpace: Robert Pearlman's online journal provides Apollo anniversary news you won't find anywhere else - such as this week's reports about the $1,000 Apollo coffee-table book and Choclatique's moon-rock candy collection. The discussion forums let Internet users trade gossip about Buzz Aldrin's whereabouts or debate the relative merits of space memorabilia. CollectSpace's link list covers a lot of the Web territory I've missed, but feel free to pass along pointers to other online resources in your comments below.

Update for 9:30 p.m. July 1: Chris Willis of Footnote.com wrote in to let me know about the Moon Landing Memories Web site launched in cooperation with Florida Today. The site provides access to Florida Today's 1969 archives and NASA documents such as the lunar module manual. Web users also have an opportunity to add their own thoughts and pictures.

More Apollo resources:


During the editing process, the entry for the Project Apollo Archive temporarily went missing, but I'm glad to report that the Top Nine list is back to a Top 10. Join the Cosmic Log corps by signing up as my Facebook friend or hooking up on Twitter. And if you really want to be friendly, ask me about my upcoming book, "The Case for Pluto."