Buzz Aldrin climbing down to the surface of the moon. (Photo courtesy NASA)

Celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the Apollo 11 moonlanding

‘Ground control to Major Tom’ the countdown is on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

July 1969 gave rise to many memorable space-related events.

David Bowie’s 1969 hit song, “Space Oddity” was released on July 11 and just passed its 50th anniversary. The song came out just five days before the Apollo 11 was launched by NASA and a little over a week before the astronauts took their first steps on the moon on July 20.

Despite the fact that the song ends with Major Tom floating off into space and can be presumed not to return, “Space Oddity” was played on BBC while they aired the moon landing. It was also played on Elon Musk’s Tesla that launched in 2018.

Space travel was the topic of the day in the sixties and Bowie was inspired by the concept of space travel — and by 2001: A Space Odyssey. He has said in interviews that people thought that the moon landing that had given rise to the song, but that it was really the 1968 sci-fi film.

READ ALSO: Five-day event at Centre of the Universe in Saanich marks 50th anniversary of moon landing

The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DOA) in Saanich celebrates the space-craze of the ’60s and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing from July 16 to 20.

There will be several different events during the days and at night, there will be Apollo-11 and ‘60s themed presentations, said Calvin Schmidt, program manager at the observatory.

On July 20, the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, there will be a special Star Party — which the DAO hosts every Saturday in the summer — to celebrate. Guests can begin to arrive at 6 p.m. and can view the original, two-hour moon-walk footage at 8 p.m. with commentary from Chris Gainor, a space historian.

Visit the DOA website to learn more about the event and register for free tickets prior to the event.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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