Fly me to the moon: the best ways to mark the Apollo 11 anniversary

From great exhibitions and books to lunar festivals, our guide to the best celebrations of 50 years since the moon landing

Film and TV

The Day We Walked on the Moon
ITV, Thursday 11 July, 9pm
To commemorate Nasa’s achievement, this July, ITV will premiere the documentary The Day We Walked on the Moon. Narrated by Mark Strong and directed by John Moulson, it tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission and includes interviews with key figures such as astronaut Michael Collins.

Apollo 11
(In cinemas, 28 June)
Director Todd Douglas Miller and his team worked through 11,000 hours of unreleased audio and film from the Apollo 11 mission, in partnership with Nasa and the National Archives. The film is made up entirely of original footage, and features no narration, cutaway interviews or recreated scenes.

(In cinemas, 12 July)
Featuring the voice of Harrison Ford, the film documents Neil Armstrong’s days as a fighter pilot in Korea, and of the Gemini 8 and Apollo 11 missions. It will include new family footage, Nasa images, and documents from Purdue University’s Armstrong archives.


Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth
By Andrew Smith
27 June, Bloomsbury (£9.99)
A new edition of the award-winning 2009 book blending history, reportage and memoir, described at the time as “wonderful” by David Bowie and “extremely thought-provoking” by JG Ballard. The new edition includes a chapter-length afterword, in which Smith writes about the 12 men who walked on the moon and his interviews with the surviving nine.

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of Nasa Mathematician Katherine Johnson
11 July, Atheneum Books (£12.99)
The Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures shone a light on Katherine Johnson, who in 2015 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. Now, her forthcoming autobiography reveals what it was like to work on Apollo 11 as an African American female mathematician.

Apollo 11: The Inside Story
By David Whitehouse
6 June, Icon Books (£12.99)
An authoritative account of Apollo 11 and the end of the space race, shedding light on the true drama behind the mission. The book is based on accounts from the crew, engineers, Nasa officials and politicians, as well as Soviet rivals.

Taschen’s new book of images from Nasa’s space archives.
Taschen’s new book of images from Nasa’s space archives. Photograph: Taschen

Photography books

The Nasa Archives: 60 Years in Space
By Piers Bizony, Roger Launius and Andrew Chaikin
Taschen (£100)
A photographic celebration of Nasa’s entire history, including images of the moon landing. Readers can flip through 400 photographs of the last 60 years, to explore Nasa’s past and present accomplishments.

By Floris Heyne, Joel Meter, Simon Phillipson and Delano Steenmeijer
teNeues (£45)
Released last year in a limited run of 3,000 copies, the book features 225 photographs from the Nasa archives in large-print format, restored from the 70mm film shot by the astronauts. It also includes an essay by Walt Cunningham, who flew on the first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7.


Events Under the Moon
Natural History Museum, London, until 8 September
The Natural History Museum is hosting a series of under-the-moon events including yoga, interactive theatre, cheese and wine nights, and a performance by award-winning hip-hop producer DJ Yoda (2 August). Luke Jerram’s seven-metre-wide lunar artwork Museum of the Moon will be the backdrop.

Summer of Space
Science Museum, London
Over the summer, the Science Museum will feature an array of cinematic and interactive productions. These include Apollo 11: First Steps, a 48-minute cinematic recreation of the real-life moon landing; Space Descent VR, a virtual reality experience with British astronaut Tim Peake; and Apollo Astronights (20 July), a family sleepover with workshops, space activities and Imax 3D films (a version for children with special needs is on 3 August).

Bluedot festival at Jodrell Bank Observatory.
Bluedot festival at Jodrell Bank Observatory. Photograph: handout/Handout


Moon festival
Various locations, London, 19-26 July
The Moon festival celebrates the anniversary of Apollo 11 with music performances, art exhibitions, science lectures, moon gardens, yoga classes, films, food markets and street parties, as well as a keynote speech by Margaret Atwood (20 July).

Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, 18-21 July
The annual festival welcomes a stellar array of acts including Hot Chip, Kraftwerk, New Order and Jarvis Cocker. On top of the cosmic musical performances, there will be lectures, stargazing, interactive displays at the Space Pavilion, and the Luminarium, an immersive experience of labyrinthine tunnels and cavernous domes.

Science festival: The Sky’s the Limit
Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, until 9 June
A specially curated series of events, among them a lunar-inspired art exhibition (which also includes Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon), themed activity nights and a Doctor Who event. There will be a series of talks on space travel, aliens and the future, and a keynote lecture by space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (27 May). Guests are welcome to join science-themed worship and evensong.

Sydney Luntz

The GuardianTramp

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