Apollo’s Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings by Roger Launius; Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C., 2019; hardcover: 264 pages, $27.95

Space historian Roger D. Launius has authored this unique and notable book, one that recollects the triumph that was Apollo…but also Apollo’s less positive aspects.

“Each chapter of the book focuses on a major them in our memories of Apollo,” the author explains, “revealing the ways in which it has been seen as a positive endeavor, as well as the ways in which it remains rooted in a time and a place far removed from both our present concerns and our future priorities.”

That piece of prologue sets the reader up for an expertly written retro look at the “feel-good” triumph for America of astronauts on the Moon and high salutes to the U.S. flag.

But Launius then offers provoking chapters, such as: “Applying Knowledge from Apollo to This-World Problems,” “Apollo and the Religion of Spaceflight,” as well as delving into the surrealistic community of those calling Apollo fake news – individuals that deny the Apollo Moon landings.

The chapter on Apollo hoax accusations is chalk-full of insight. Launius reminds the reader: “More than half the world’s population was born after the last of the Moon landings took place in December 1972. Consequently, they had not lived through the excitement of the experience.”

The contents of this book are divided into 10 chapters, with a “Remembering Apollo” conclusion. The author suggests that Apollo increasingly seems to be viewed as a once-upon-a-time situation “for reasons that have receded far into the background.”

Launius goes on to say that in 100 years, “Apollo may be remembered as a singular event, glorious and revered but viewed increasingly as an undertaking without lasting significance.”

There will be those that will argue with that sentiment. Regardless, this volume is a beneficial and essential look at the Apollo space program, one that challenges the status quo of blindly embracing the space past while disregarding the framework of today’s human space exploration planning.  

For more information on this book, go to:


Leave a Reply