Podcasts To Listen To: 13 Minutes to the Moon

The Lunar Landing

50 Years Later

July 20th, 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission to the moon. On July 20th, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin famously took a “small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind.”  

13 Minutes to the Moon is a BBC docu-series podcast that takes a deep dive into the decade of the 1960s where President John F. Kennedy made a bold challenge to the United States that in 10 years, we shall put a man on the moon.  

That pledge was made despite being behind the Soviets who were first to send a satellite into space with their infamous Sputnik 1 launch. The tensions of the Cold War and space race were in full force and Sputnik represented the proverbial egg on the face of the United States.


Turbulent Times

The 1960s were a tumultuous time. The aforementioned, fearless leader in Kennedy had been assassinated and the Apollo Space program kept experiencing setback after setback. Apollo 1, the very first phase of the lunar program, ended in tragedy when a fire during a test launch killed two astronauts.  

Perhaps NASA and the United States were moving too fast, the pressure was too intense, and the goal was too ambitious? There was no doubt that a tremendous amount of money, resources, and the best and brightest the country had to offer were all invested in the space program. But to what end? Thankfully NASA and the country persisted.


The Spirit Of Youth

A fact that seems astonishing in reflection now was that the average age of a space engineer working in the lunar mission control was 27 years old. Essentially, it was kids that put us on the moon!  

Perhaps it was their intelligence and youthful energy that helped the United States achieve space flight, but even more so, it may have been the fearlessness of youth that allowed them to take on something that a different generation may have viewed as impossible.  


Podcast Format

13 Minutes to the Moon is a podcast hosted by Dr. Kevin Fong who interviews scientists, engineers, astronauts, and computer programmers who were actually working for NASA during the time of the lunar mission. Fong does an excellent job weaving the story of the youthful group that helped execute John F. Kennedy’s vision of putting the United States on the moon. 

13 Minutes to the Moon takes an expansive and comprehensive look at all the factors that contributed to the ultimate mission. From the tragedy of Apollo 1 to the heroics of dramatic, real-time decision making to the silicon computer chip that played an integral role in designing a state of the art spaceship to help Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong not only get to the moon but more importantly, return back home.  


Subscribe And Listen

13 Minutes to the Moon is available and ongoing right now. The final episode will be recorded live from Houston’s Rice University where President JFK famously made his forward-thinking and inspirational speech back in 1962.