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Submitted by

Bob Morrell on 07.03.2024

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The Moonwalkers: Lightroom, Kings Cross, London

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Visitors at The Moonwalkers immersive experience

This immersive experience presented by Tom Hanks, sits you in the middle of a thousand images that brings you as close as possible to the lunar landings (1969-1972). Twelve men have stood on the moon. We have not been back since. That’s one of the most surprising statistics. Such intense effort to get there, and then other projects like the Shuttle, the space station, and now space tourism have taken precedence. A new lunar mission is planned for 2026 though. 

It is 240,000 miles to the moon, and in the seventies, it took four days to get there and four days to get back. That’s 2500 mph. The margin for error did not exist. If Neil and Buzz had taken 2 or 3 more seconds to land on the moon, they may not have made it back off. If the landing module had launched into space and not connected with the command module in exactly the right place, then it would have been a disaster. So many, tiny things could have gone wrong (just watch Apollo 13), and nobody would have made it there.

Now there is a move to go to Mars. Technology has improved and the first step to Mars is to get back to the moon. Mars is a different ball game all together. To get to Mars is about 9 months, you need to spend 3 months on Mars to wait for the right time to leave and then another 9 months or so to get back. In truth, nobody has any idea what this experience will be like, or even if it is possible.

Of course, the same could be said of the moon in 1969. This is only 24 years after the end of the war. Jet propelled flight was in its infancy in the forties, and yet 20 years later there were men in space, and finally, on the moon. Since space travel began, apart from the moon missions, nobody on earth has been further than 400 miles away from it. That’s an amazing fact. We are so used to watching sci-fi that we almost believe interstellar travel is possible. The speed to reach the moon is incredible, you just can’t work out why we stopped. 

I was born in 1969 on the day the second mission to the moon, that year, blasted off. I have no memory of the landings up to 1972 – I’m sure we would have had a black and white TV anyway, and this experience was an amazing immersion, placing you on the moon, where you sense being present on that surface. If I make it to 2040, then maybe, just maybe, I will see someone walk on Mars, and I’d imagine the image of that will be little higher resolution than it was in 1969.

The Moonwalkers: A Journey With Tom Hanks runs until 9 June 2024