The ingenuity needed to undertake a long-term space journey to Mars is going to be staggering, as The Longest Goodbye shows.
In no uncertain terms, this journey is just over the horizon and is a challenge that humans can’t wait to undertake. Contemporary astronauts, scientists, engineers, psychologists and others are the product of those that have come before. So, take a deep dive into these space themed documentaries to get a glimpse of the genius that built the foundations of our next giant leap into the unknown, Mars.
Find out more about The Longest Goodbye, playing from Fri 18 Aug.
The Voyagers / Penny Lane / 2010 / USA / 16 mins
Voyager 1 and 2 are NASA’s attempts at understanding the far flung regions of deep space. Launched in 1977 these probes were designed to last just two years, but to this day they continue feeding information back to scientists whilst traveling at speeds of over 35,000 miles per hour. It’s this starting point that provides director and narrator Penny Lane (you can watch a Q&A that we hosted with Penny for her film Hail, Satan here) with a launch pad to explore humans’ insatiable appetite for figuring out the universe. But there is a human element here as well, as we attempt deep space exploration, what messages do we send to anyone or anything we might meet along the way?
Available to watch for free here.
John Was Trying to Contact Aliens / Matthew Killip / USA / 2020 / 16 mins
If NASA needed ideas for what messages they might send into space, perhaps John could help. With unrelenting passion, this self-taught rural electronics whiz spent 30 years broadcasting music millions of miles into space in the hope that it might be heard it and responded to. But this isn’t just a story of one man’s solitary mission, its also about human connections and what our missions in life can unexpectedly bring along the way.
Apollo 11 / Todd Douglas Miller / USA / 2019 / 93 mins
Using thousands of hours of unseen footage, Apollo 11 shows us the behind-the-scenes story of one of human beings finest and most challenging endeavours, sending man to the moon. Created for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, this inspiring film honours the ingenuity of the men and women of NASA and their joint efforts in this monumental feat.
Armstrong / David Fairhead / USA / 2019 / 90 mins
Who do we choose to represent Us, Human Beings, on our quest to alien frontiers? Far from the psychological rigamarole of modern day space missions that we see in The Longest Goodbye, the Apollo missions of the 1960’s were crewed by the best and brightest of NASA. So what makes one person stand out? In this touching and reverent film we learn what made the man and why Neil Armstrong ultimately became the first person to step onto a place that wasn’t our own.
Available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Good Night Oppy / Ryan White / USA / 2022 / 105 mins
You might never meet a more endearing and charming robot than the Mars exploration rover Opportunity, affectionately shortened to Oppy by the scientists who helped build and maintain her. Whilst The Longest Goodbye explores the idea of long term space travel to Mars, Good Night Oppy takes us on a journey to the red planet to spend the final days with Oppy – but what an exciting life she had, after only expecting to operate on Mars for 90 days, 15 years later she was still going strong and collecting research for scientists on Earth. Available to watch on