For All Mankind’s twisted space race asks the big questions

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Apple starts shooting second season of For All Mankind next month
This is the best series on Apple TV+ right now.
Photo: Apple

Timely space-race drama For All Mankind just might propel Apple TV+ into becoming must-see TV. The show kicks off in the late 1960s, a couple of weeks before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin strap themselves into a giant metal tube full of fuel that’s aimed at the moon.

From there, the story takes a sharp turn away from history and examines what the world would look like if the USSR planted its flag on the moon first. Space is obviously a huge part of For All Mankind, but the way creator Ronald D. Moore uses it as a vehicle to tackle topics like family, patriotism, feminism and more is what makes the show worth watching.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

You can take one small step to save Neil Armstrong’s moon suit

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Neil Armstrong's suit needs a little preservation work before it can be displayed in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Neil Armstrong's suit needs a little preservation work before it can be displayed in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Photo: Mark Avino/Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

What are the artifacts that define America’s greatest moments? Two are the original Declaration of Independence and the Star-Spangled Banner that inspired the Francis Scott Key song.

If you see those in the top three, the third might be the suit Neil Armstrong wore when he stepped onto the moon’s surface.

While the suit was constructed to make it to the moon and back, it was not built to last forever. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is raising money for a major restoration project to get the Armstrong suit ready for public display on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 2019.

Neil Armstrong’s ‘bunch of trash’ is space history treasure

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A bag of forgotten moon mission artifacts was found in a closet in Neil Armstrong's home. Carol Armstrong photo: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
A bag of forgotten moon mission artifacts was found in a closet in Neil Armstrong's home. Carol Armstrong photo: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Neil Armstrong had just been the first man to walk on the moon but now had to put out the trash.

It was a critical step home. Precise weight had to be calculated for re-entry and to make way for moon rocks, miscellaneous space travel items had to be discarded in the lunar module.

Just before sending the Eagle crashing into the surface of the moon, Mission Control records Armstrong’s voice saying nothing historic, certainly not as memorable as “One Small Step for Man…”

“You know, that – that one’s just a bunch of trash that we want to take back . . . We’ll have to figure something out for it.”

This audio proved to be an important piece of provenance when the wife of the late astronaut discovered a white bag in a home closet.