When the the Project Apollo Archive released thousands of mission images this week, we didn’t think things could get much better. Magazine after magazine of film was uploaded in its unedited form, taken straight off of various mission cameras. But in a nod to the immense amount of work it took to get those files formatted, the Planetary Society’s Merc Boyan took things one step further and combined 845 of them into a beautiful time-lapse. The video takes us on a journey to the moon and back, as documented by the crew of Apollo 11. If you listen closely, you can hear the faint, faint sound of conspiracy theorists crying.
On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket—still the most powerful rocket ever built—launched Apollo 11 on its historic journey to the moon. The rocket was as tall as a 36-story building, weighed as much 400 elephants, and created more power at liftoff than the Hoover Dam. We strapped people to that, shot them into space, and landed them safely on a chunk of rock 238,900 miles away. Inside, relying on less computing power than you have in your smartphone, were crew members Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
“I kind of have two moons in my head, I guess, whereas most people just have one moon,” Collins said of the experience. “I look at the moon just like everybody else who’s never been there, and you know, there it is, and I’ve always thought it was interesting. Whether it’s full or a sliver, or what have you. But every once in a while, I do think of a second moon, you know… the one that I recall from up close. And yeah, it is kind of hard to believe that I was actually up there.”
After looking at this 500 frames-per-second footage from the launch pad, we can see why: