60 years of NASA, a photographic memory of the conquest of space


Madrid, Spain

The story of NASA is registered in our collective memory with imagesfrom the arrival of the man on the Moon to the photographs of arid Mars or those of our planet seen from space, which Carl Sagan he described as that "pale blue spot".

Halfway between the 60th anniversary of NASA and the 50th anniversary, in June, of the arrival of the man on the moon, "The archives of NASA. 60 years in space"(Taschen) proposes a journey in space and time through 400 photographs, in a" visual homage to the unstoppable impulse of the human being to travel beyond the Earth ".

A journey started 60 years ago and that has traveled millions of kilometers, beyond the borders of Solar system, be surprised by the incredible beauty of the remote galaxies seen through the eyes of the Hubble telescope.

One of the NASA missions is that "everyone can appreciate at least part of the greatness of the Universe" and in that mission photography "plays a crucial role", writes the journalist specializing in science in the preface Piers Bozony.

The book reproduces conversations between astronauts and control on the Earth, such as: "Houston, we had a problem", Jim Lovell on Apollo 13 (and not "Houston, we have a problem", as he remembers popularly), or the " moon "(1962), by President John F. Kennedy to convince Americans to support the Apollo program.

But above all, it is a photographic journey from the creation of NASA (1958), "as an emergency response" to the launch of the Soviet Sputnik 1 satellite and to the preoccupation it has raised in American society, to the selfie with their robotic rover arm on the Martian surface.

Large, high-resolution images showing the fragility of the human being as he walks through the "magnificent desolation" of the Moon, as he described Buzz Aldrin, trampling the satellite behind him Neil Armstrong July 20, 1969.

And how those results were followed with a mixture of emotion and disbelief, with an image of the Central Station of New York crowded with people in front of a giant screen that transmits the takeoff of John Glenn (1962), the first to orbit around the Earth on three occasions.

Memories in black and white that contrast with the immense blue of the Earth that acts as a structure for the walks in space, the daily life of the astronauts on the International Space Station or the feverish work of the thousands of NASA employees whose names will not pass never to history.

"In the time of a lifetime, NASA has realized some of the greatest imaginable explorations, investigating our fundamental relationship with the immense and incredible Universe," Bizony writes in the book, which includes essays from the former head of the NASA Roger Launius. and of the scientific writer and journalist Andrew Chaikin.

A difficult undertaking in which there have also been stoppages and tragedies, which are counted on the loss of 17 lives during space flights, summarized in the terrible image of the Challenger shuttle that explodes into a thousand pieces on the morning of the January 28, 1986.

"The archives of NASA" is a lived, but also imagined, story, through extracts of works such as "From the Earth to the Moon" by Jules Verne, who opens the book, or "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C Clarke, and that is, that the human being has always wondered what is there.

"But what kind of answers do we hope to find among the stars? Maybe it's always the Earth we're looking for," Bizony's questions in the book.

Or said in the words of astronaut Apollo 8, Bill Anders: "We have done all this to exploit the Moon and the most important thing we have discovered is the Earth." EFE



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