If you’re any kind of space nut you’ll have heard of this podcast already - it’s been around for two series now and is an outstanding piece of production that drags you right into the heart of space missions and doesn’t let you go until they’re over. 13 Minutes to the Moon is a BBC podcast that started with the story of Apollo 11, and specifically centred on that descent from the Apollo craft to the lunar surface.
Whilst also telling the story of how we got there, brilliantly narrated by Kevin Fong, and with great inside interviews as well as viewing the bigger picture, the podcast really does a great job of focusing on those tense moments, heart-stopping seconds where things are either going to work out okay, or the story is going to turn out completely different.
I’m assuming this was designed to be a standalone podcast series, given the nature of the storytelling and certainly given the title. But it returned for a second outing, this time focusing on the ill-fated Apollo 13. Obviously it’s a famous story, and I’m sure we’ve all seen the film, but hearing the details and the first-hand interviews in these podcast episodes really made me think about how little we actually know. The spirit, determination, and indeed intelligence of humankind all pulled together to make this ultimately a successful mission (in that no-one died) but every step of the way… they were basically winging it.
When the modern world and current situations are getting just a bit too much to deal with, it’s always good to sit back and think about the stars, about our little role in this great big universe. These podcast series help to do that - zeroing in on what a small speck we are compared to the vast challenges of space.