To The Moon (Time-Life Records)

Aug 4th, 2011 | Categories: Military / War | Photography | Retro | Sci-Fi | Scientific

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Something of a special feature here, original photography scanned from the breathtakingly beautiful ‘To The Moon’ (Time-Life 1969) an audio and visual chronology that documents NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and (of course) Apollo projects. ‘To The Moon’ includes 6 doubled sided 12″ Vinyl’s full of famous radio transmissions and interviews, plus an accompanying 190 page slip case book, and that’s the focus of this post. Many thanks to Craig for the temporary loan!

The first thing that strikes when flicking through ‘To The Moon’ is the muted palette and hues of the colour photography. Bathed in a loving technicolor warmth, the imagery empowers the feeling of not just peering into the past, but through into another world, like suddenly everything could spring to life. What’s also unusual is the obscure nature or relative rarity of content, as you might expect in running and researching this blog I’ve mined many resources from this period, but scanning here presented gem after perfectly preserved gem.

A quick disclaimer on the scans, I’ve tried my best to match the tones of the book, but of course some scans work better than others.

Top Image: I often tend to start a post with the image I deem strongest, most outlandish or simply just the personal fave. The above is no exception, akin to a Renaissance masterpiece, with perfect pose and expression. What’s it all about? it’s part of development testing for the Mercury program, a researcher carefully measures how far a test subject, restricted by a pressure suit, can push ’spokes’ basically to gauge how away far the capsule controls should be.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: Gemini 6 splashes down 26 hours after launch. Once again a stripped back, gorgeous array of vivid colours, the fact that it’s slightly out of focus just adds to the painterly feel.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: Three early twin rotor helicopters (a type I’m unfamiliar with) sit against a cold and barren volcanic backdrop. No prizes for guessing this hostile landscape is Iceland, here the astronauts explore the lunar like terrain to help familiarise with the adventures that lay ahead.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: This abstract image is actually a long exposure of Astronaut Gus Grissom sitting within the fearsome ‘MASTIF’ (an acronym for Multiple Axis Space Test Inertia Facility). The g-force throttling, spinning MASTIF is designed to help teach an astronaut how bring a tumbling capsule under control.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: Engineers test a fragile-looking Mariner 4, this early interplanetary probe will embark on an 8 month fly-by mission to Mars.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: The Seven Astronauts of the Mercury Program try on their distinctive silver space suits. Composed of a rubber inner layer, and an outer aluminised shell these outfits are tailored to fit each astronaut precisely, to the point that even a few extra pounds would feel akin to being squeezed in a vise.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: An Atlas booster surges skyward from the launch pad carrying astronaut Wally Schirra. He rides atop inside Sigma 7, the tiny black and white capsule surmounted by the red escape tower.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: This ominous vast metallic structure is the inners of the gigantic liquid oxygen tank that forms part of stage 1 of a Saturn V Rocket, as used in NASA’s Apollo and Skylab projects.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: Friendship 7 (Mercury) soars skyward carrying John Glen. To myself as a child of the late 70′s/80′s Nasa missions predominantly mean the Space Shuttle and Cape Canaveral. This retro panorama of concrete towers, bunkers, pads and gantries (also at Cape Canaveral) seems somehow much more futuristic, a spaceport from which rockets hurtle to the furthest flung reaches of the solar system. Or alternatively on a somewhat darker note, this fearsome array of rapidly developed rocketry technology, birthed out of the Cold War’s arms and space race, also serves to remind how close our world came to nuclear annihilation.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: Prior to the liftoff of Gemini 5, Conrad and Cooper lie expectantly on their couches (combined photograph). This image is presented vertically from within the book, but it’s spun horizontally here, Cooper (right) looks almost waxen inside the helmet.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: 5 Days after the Soviet Spacewalk, several astronaut’s wives watch in tremendous anticipation as the first Gemini lifts off with its two man crew. Love this, a broad brushstroke of expression and emotion, much more than just one moment captured here, these faces beam back all the pride, thrill, terror and raw astonishment the Space Program can present. Or maybe it’s a just a summer snapshot with the greatest collection of 60′s sunglasses ever captured by camera.

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Above: Astronaut John Glenn peers through a simulated capsule window, he observes star groupings at the Morehead Planetarium in North Carolina. Sighting on the vertical blue line which represents his flightpath, he learns to recognise the stars he will need as navigation guides when he gets into space. What to say about this one, definitely one of the most powerful in the book with a real Dave Bowman / 2001: A Space Odyssey feel, though of course Kubrick’s masterpiece arrived several years later.

Too The Moon - Time Life Records

Too The Moon - Time Life Records

It’s only fitting that we sign off with more details on the source, so last but not least here’s a few shots of the box, book and inlay, nicely showing off the colour coded vinyl, If your interested in picking this up then ebay of course is the best place to start, seems to crop up fairly regularly. Here’s a breakdown on the publication.

TO THE MOON – Book Plus Musical Recordings. Time Life Productions 1969. THE BOOK (Section II) captures the story in pictures and text for generations to come. 190 pages. – Slip Case Book: 12-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ (Includes records).

Dedication: To the yet unborn generations of the world who, in centuries to come, will be able to listen and understand that this extraordinary achievement was accomplished by “average men” like their fathers . . . Michael Kapp.

Side 1 – Prologue: The First message from man on the moon… The beginning of rocketry . . . Tsiolkovsky.

Side 2 – Prologue: World WAR II ends… US seizes remaining V-2’s and the German rocket team surrenders to the Americans.

Side 3 – Mercury: National Space and Aeronautics Administration is set up under the Eisenhower Administration.

Side 4 – Mercury: U.S. Space Probes… Russia photographs the moon with Lunik III… President Kennedy.

Side 5 – Mercury: Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 makes a successful flight and sinks.

Side 6 – Mercury: Slayton is grounded . . . Ranger 4 to the dark side of the Moon.

Side 7 – Gemini: Russia, three-man capsule . . . Vietnam war escalates . . . Russian spacewalk.

Side 8 – Gemini: Armstrong and Scott dock with an Agenda but tumble end over end and must make an emergency landing.

Side 9 – Apollo: Grissom, White and Chaffee die in a ground test for the first manned Apollo.

Side 10 – Apollo: Schirra, Eiselle and Cunningham… the first manned flight with a Saturn IB.

Side 11 – Apollo: McDivitt, Scott and Schweickart prepare first manned test in space for LM… In Earth orbit, perform crucial docking.

Side 12 – Apollo: At Cape Kennedy during the long countdown Liftoff for Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins . . . Trans-lunar injection . . . Separation of Columbia and Eagle.

** Audio notes

If your even mildly into electronic/dance music, you’ll know that these hallow vinyls have been heavily sampled through the years. For further reading on that check this excellent post created by Craig (lender of book) over at DJ History

Here’s a taster, Lemon Jelly ‘Space Walk’, this track samples Ed White’s spacewalk during the Gemini program. Made more poignant as he tragically died in the Apollo 1 fire.

Finally I’d just like to point out how uplifting writing and researching this article in particular has been, To The Moon radiates a real sense of wonder and I hope that’s reflected. NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were truly awe inspiring, this post is dedicated to all those involved.

FFFOUND Collection (1) Nov 10

Nov 22nd, 2010 | Categories: Fantasy | Fashion | Illustration | Moebius | Photography | Sci-Fi

Vania Zouravliov - The Head

Unknown Artist - Please Post if you know

unknown photograph - please post comment if you have info :)


Autumn Whitehurst - Sugar Genomics


Whilst I prep some new feature post’s I’m going to follow on from my recent Flickr Round with a collection of images I’ve bookmarked and backtracked via the excellent – lazy? yes I know!

I actually still have FFFFound set as my Firefox home page and although I don’t spend quite as much time browsing as I used too, I still think it’s an excellent resource. In fact I’ve even saved off hundreds of bookmarked images too form offline inspiration scrapbook- It was a boring chore, but has since proved to be very handy!

Ok so here’s the notes on this somewhat arbitrary selection:

Top: Stunning Gothic, fantasy tinged fashion Illustration from Russian Artist Vania Zouravliov, this piece is entitled “The Head”. Really beautiful work, I think you’ll agree and someone I’ll definitely be looking to run a full feature on in the near(ish) future – in the meantime check this post at Jeff Hamada’s superb or maybe just a general Google image search on Vania Zouravliov

2nd Top: I’m not sure on who the artist is here, only that I very much like the piece! As is often the problem with backtracking from FFFFound the link ends but not on the exact page – If you know who it is and have more info, please post a comment.

3rd Top: Now I really like this photograph, but again I’m lost for any more info on it – is it real? or a composite? The link ends here: – please help!

* ADDENDUM 7th November 2012*  Third one for the top is from the series “Blinded by the light” by photo artist Carlo van de Roer.

4th Top: Here’s one that’s easy to spot, it is of course the work of SF French illustrator extraordinaire Moebius this Image is via the fantastic – check out much more here:

5th Top: This haunting portrait is the work of another illustrator I’ll be featuring again soon, Autumn Whitehurst – see more from her gorgeous portfolio here.

Bottom: Again this is another piece I’m not entirely sure on, though it looks somewhat similar to the work Cartoonist Spain Rodriguez whom I featured earlier in the year

** Proper posts coming soon! please give us a shout if you can help out at all identifying any of the unknown pieces…



2010 Cassini Orbiter Gallery

Aug 20th, 2010 | Categories: Photography | Photomontage | Scientific

Cassini Saturn Photography

Cassini Saturn Photography

Cassini Saturn Photography

Cassini Saturn Photography

Cassini - Saturn Gallery

Spotted this breathtaking selection of abstract space photography earlier today and thought it’d make a good meander to the flow of the blog…

This post then is something of an expanded retweet which I first saw linked via We Are Build’s Twitter feed The full article comes via Wired Magazine and that’s where you can see a complete set of 12 images. Here’s my thoughts and notes on the selected imagery…

All 5 photographs have been taken this year by NASA’s enduring Cassini probe which started it’s long mission to Saturn and it’s many moons back in 1997. Cassini–Huygens was developed as a twin NASA/ESA venture, with NASA constructing the Orbiter and the Europeans building the Huygens Probe (lander) which touched down on the surface of Titan (Saturn’s largest moon) on January 14th, 2005 transmitting data (via Cassini) back to earth for 90 minutes. Whilst not without some glitches both probes have been a phenomenal success making many significant discoveries such as confirming the existence of liquid hydrocarbon lakes, cryovolcanoes and mysterious “spokes” in Saturn’s rings, plus with plans to potentially run Cassini through to 2017 there is of course scope for learning so much more…

Top Image: The Icy moon of Tethys in silent transit around the enourmous gas giant. Tethys is just one of sixty two discovered Moons in orbit of Saturn.

2nd Image: The moons of Rhea (large in frame) and Epimetheus, despite the deceiving appearance these moons are in fact 250,000 miles apart. Rhea with a diameter of of 946 miles is Saturn’s second largest moon whilst at just 70miles across Epimetheus ranks 16th largest.

3rd Image: The dark side of Saturn cast’s a long heavy shadow across it’s rings – stunning! – the aforementioned moon of Thetys can be seen top right whilst Enceladus spins away bottom right.

4th Image: Perpetual storms on Saturn can feature wind speeds in access of 1000 mph and can be interspersed with violent cracks of lighting, amazingly Cassini managed to capture this phenomenon on film, check it out. Though unimaginably fast Saturn’s wind speeds are in fact trumped by those of far flung Neptune which can clock over 1300mph!

Bottom: Dione (Saturns 15th largest moon) is dwarfed by the looming Titan. Titan appears yellow in colour and is the only moon known too have a dense atmosphere, consisting of 98.4% Nitrogen with Methane making up the remainder… possibly not a holiday spot then.


As I mentioned do check the full post at Wired for another 7 images, or indeed try the NASA source.

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