After Apollo: The Legacy of the American Moon Landings

Overview


When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon in 1969, it was a public spectacle like no other, capturing the imagination of the world and fulfilling a centuries-old dream. That landing, and the lunar landings that followed between 1969 and 1972, represented the quintessential accomplishment of the first 50 years of the space age and seemed to confirm the American ideal of limitless progress and expansion.

In After Apollo, Roger D. Launius, Senior Curator at the ...

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Overview


When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon in 1969, it was a public spectacle like no other, capturing the imagination of the world and fulfilling a centuries-old dream. That landing, and the lunar landings that followed between 1969 and 1972, represented the quintessential accomplishment of the first 50 years of the space age and seemed to confirm the American ideal of limitless progress and expansion.

In After Apollo, Roger D. Launius, Senior Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, investigates the cultural significance of the moon landings from the vantage of a post-modern, post-cold war world. Launius examines all aspects of the Apollo Project: the mythology of the astronaut in American culture, the importance of lunar science, the American public's memory of the moon landings, and more. He considers how differing cultural, generational, economic, and ethnic backgrounds affect the way we view the moon landings, and how the landings in turn influenced America's view of itself and its place in the world. The Apollo flights clearly fit into--and bolstered--the master narrative of American exceptionalism and triumphalism. But Launius also examines three counter narratives: the Left's objection that the enormous sums of money devoted to space exploration could have been better spent on social programs; the Right's view of Apollo as another tax-and-spend government boondoggle; and the moon-landing deniers' contention that the whole thing was faked as part of a nefarious conspiracy to attain world domination.

Drawing on the literature of memory as well as extensive research into contemporary culture, After Apollo offers an insightful and enduringly relevant appraisal of the lunar landings and their place in American history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199731770
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/26/2013
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Roger D. Launius is Senior Curator in the Division of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum. He is the author of many books, including Space Stations: Base Camps to the Stars (2009), Atlas of Space Exploration (2009), and Robots in Space: Technology, Evolution, and Interplanetary Travel (2008).

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Table of Contents

Introduction Chapter 1: A Moment in Time
-JFK and the Politics of Space in the First 100 Days
-Soviet Challenge/American Response
-Reconsidering the Decision to Go to the Moon
-The Concept of the Visionary President?
-Belief in Popular Support for Apollo Chapter 2: Technological Virtuosity
-The American Infatuation with All Things Technological
-A Mixed Record?
-An Exceptionally Human Tragedy
-The Triumph of Technological Virtuosity Chapter 3: Heroes in a Vacuum
-Creation of an Image
-The Astronaut as "Everyman"
-The Mystique of the Space Suit
-Astronaut Masculinity and the Crisis of Post-Modern Society
-Astronauts as Generational Representations Chapter 4: "Ex Luna, Scientia"
-Interpreting Apollo Science
-Building Support for Apollo Lunar Science
-Pre-Apollo Knowledge of the Moon
-Learning More about the Moon
-Scientific Results from Apollo
-Incorporation of Apollo Lunar Science into the Body of Knowledge
-Remystification of the Moon Chapter 5: Vicarious Exploration and Apollo Imagery
-Photography and the Nature of Exploration
-NASA and Astronaut Photography
-Six Images from Apollo
--Apollo/Saturn V Launch
--Astronaut and the American Flag on the Lunar Surface
--Buzz Aldrin Full Image
--Bootprint on the Moon
--Earthrise
--The Whole Earth Chapter 6: Managing the Unmanageable
-Apollo, Governmental Activism, and the Positive Liberal State
-James E. Webb and Space Age America
-Experimenting with Knowledge: NASA's Sustaining University Program
-Exporting "Space Age Management"
-Space Age Management and Its Legacy Chapter 7: Nationalism, Jingoism, and the Memory of Apollo
-Apollo As Mythic Event
-A Typology for the Prestige Issue in Apollo
-Prestige on the International Stage
-Pride at the National Level
-Apollo and the Idea of Progress
-The Problem of Jingoism
-Post-Colonialism and the Moon Landings Chapter 8: Abandoned in Place
-Disposing of the Relics of Apollo
-Launch Complexes 39a and 39b
-Vertical/Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)
-Mission Control Center (MCC)
-Lunar Landing Research Facility (LLRF)
-Apollo Spacecraft
-Apollo Landing Sites on the Moon
-Interpreting the Material Culture of Apollo Chapter 9: Lament for Apollo
-The Origins of Filk
-"Hope Eyrie": An Anthem for Apollo
-Filk as Lament for Apollo
-Apollo and the Grand Design Chapter 10: Denying the Apollo Moon Landings
-America and the Cult of Conspiracy
-The Rise of Moon Landing Denials
-Concocting a Lasting Conspiracy Thesis
-"Evidence" Offered by Moon Landing Deniers
-Broadcasting the Moon Hoax Conspiracy in the Age of the Internet
-The Place of the Media
-The Moon Landing Denials at Forty
-Moon Landing Deniers and the Twin Features of Modern Society Epilogue: Versions of Reality
-Apollo As Triumph
-Criticism of Apollo from the Political Left as Wasteful Government Spending
-Criticism of Apollo from the Political Right
-Denials of the Apollo Moon Landings Notes

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