Music of the Spheres

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Sunday, 20 July, 2008

Thirty-nine years ago today, human beings first set foot upon the Moon – something that, when you think about it, is quite remarkable: that in the days before even digital watches, let alone powerful desktop computers, people could do something that, perhaps, we can no longer do today.

The Apollo 11 mission was launched on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon. Later, they successfully returned — fulfilling President John F Kennedy’s 1961 speech which included the words,

…I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

Today’s programme, Music of the Spheres, commemorates this momentous event. In addition to an eclectic collection of music from, and about, space, space travel and more, we include a special radio documentary on the Apollo 11 mission based on actuality, painstakingly recorded from the broadcast coverage of the time, and woven into a story of the mission with appropriate, and equally eclectic, music including as it does everything from the Moody Blues to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Holst and even Ron Goodwin – listen on headphones for the best experience.

It can be argued that we would not have the environmental consciousness we have today were it not for our view of the Earth from space afforded initially by Apollo 8 and then by later missions. Arguably, space research is important not for what we get out of it directly in terms of products like Teflon, Velcro and manufacturing ability, or for some kind of nationalistic superiority, but for the perspective and knowledge it gives us of our own planet and the Universe around us. In addition it is, perhaps, simply something we should do.

To listen to the music of the spheres, tune in now to — the ideal URL for you to use in your home parcel media address in-world — or simply visit any Caledon Library branch in-world and press Play on your embedded music player. (If you want to listen off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and the above address doesn’t work for you, click here.)


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