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Lunar Experts

A Man on the MoonAndrew Chaikin, former editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, contributing editor to Popular Science, and Morning Edition commentator for NPR, wrote the definitive book on the Apollo program. A Man on the Moon was originally released in 1994 by Viking Books. It became the basis for Tom Hank's HBO miniseries, From the Earth to the Moon. In this book, Andrew Chaikin gives us a footprint to footprint guide to the Apollo landings as well as a look behind the scenes of the Apollo program. The book is rich with technical information, but also has a wonderfully large dose of the human side of lunar exploration. There are extensive author's notes (a joy to read in and of themselves), black and white photos, and appendices with astronaut bios and Apollo mission data. In 1998, Penguin Books released a softcover edition of the book (pictured here) which contains a forward by Tom Hanks. An expanded edition with a large number of color photos was released in 1999.

If you want to know, say, what it was like to try to fall asleep in a tiny hammock in the lunar lander after a hard days work on the lunar surface, then this is the book to read. At almost 700 pages, A Man on the Moon goes into details that are not to be found elsewhere. It gets into the minds of the scientists, engineers, and astronauts and shows you the variety of mind sets and motivations involved in the Apollo landings. And it really brings you to the surface of the Moon, where you spend detailed time walking with the astronauts on each of their outings. This book is a must read for any Lunar enthusiast.

Andrew Chaikin was a guest at the Space Frontier Foundation's Seventh Annual Conference in Los Angeles in the fall of 1998. Foundationers found Andy to be among the nicest and friendliest of lunar celebrities. We need more like him!



The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Robert A. Heinlein, arguably the most important writer of speculative fiction in the modern age, along with his wife Virginia, made the very first financial donation to the Space Frontier Foundation. His influence was and still is directly responsible for inspiring a large percentage of pro space advocates. In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, his 1966 Hugo winning novel which is widely considered his finest work, Heinlein presents a populated Luna with incredible clarity. It is a story of a revolution by Lunar penal colonists against the Lunar Authority which controls them from Earth. Success is realized through the creative use of a mass driver and a self-aware super computer named Mike who wants nothing more than to have friends. It is also a completely realized description of living under the Lunar surface. Heinlein's social and political views, in keeping with his latter works, are razor sharp. The logical need for group marriages on Luna, as well as the important role of women and the pursuit of freedom are described with loving care. The word 'Tanstaafl', which stands for 'There ain't no such thing as a free lunch' was coined by Heinlein for this book.

Pictured here is the cover of the 1997 Orb edition (Tom Doherty Associates, trade paperback, $14.95). This edition is doubly special to us as it includes a forward by Foundation advisor Yoji Kondo, who was past president of the IAU Commission on Astronomy from Space. In the forward, Yoji informs the reader of the naming in 1994 of a crater on Mars for Robert A. Heinlein (located at Martian latitude -64.6 degrees and longitude 243.8). For more on Yoji Kondo, see below.

Another Heinlein title, The Man who Sold the Moon, is required reading for anyone interested in supporting a return to the Moon. It is the story of D. D. Harriman's attempt to sell the idea of settling the Moon to corporate America. Other Heinlein titles which include depictions of life on Luna are Rocketship Galileo, Have Space Suit – Will Travel, and The Cat Who Walked Through Walls, as well as the short stories Black Pits of Luna and The Menace From Earth. He wrote the screenplay to Destination Moon (1953), Hollywood's first attempt at realistically portraying the first landing on the Moon. Robert A. Heinlein did much to energize the idea of humanity moving beyond the cradle of Earth, a diaspora he considered inevitable. He passed away in 1988 at the age of 81. We shall miss him dearly.


Yoji Kondo
Yoji Kondo is a long time advisor to and friend of the Space Frontier Foundation. Yoji edited Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master (see above). He was head of the astrophysics laboratory at NASA Johnson Space Center during the Apollo and Skylab Missions, and later was director of an international geosynchronous satellite observatory for 15 years. He also served as president of two International Astronomical Union Commissions and one IAU division. He is the author of over 200 scientific papers and editor of 13 volumes. He is the recipient of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Federal Design Achievement Award (in conjunction with the U.S. Presidential Award), National Space Club Science Award, and the Isaac Asimov Memorial Award. Under the pseudonym of Eric Kotani, he has published 7 science fiction novels.

An asteroid has been named for Yoji Kondo in recognition of his contributions to astronomy and the space program. The asteroid is: Asteroid 8072 = Yojikondo (1981 G01). Its visual magnitude on a perihelic opposition would be 16.6 magnitude and on aphelic opposition 18.4. Its size is estimated from its brightness to be about 4 km across. It is not an Earth-crossing object.

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Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon is the definitive guide to the Apollo program. Click above to order from Amazon.com.




Robert A. Heinlein's classic, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, is a must read for all Lunar enthusiasts.

Robert A. Heinlein Centennial

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