MISSION MOON 3-D
by David J. Eicher & Brian May
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
The main draw of Mission Moon 3-D, by David J. Eicher and Brian May are the numerous stereoscopic images created by May from the original photographs taken from the Apollo moon missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, once the covers of the book are opened, there is so much more to the volume than just those images. Charlie Duke, who walked on the moon in 1972 provides a foreword to the volume, and Jim Lovell, who didn't walk on the moon, wrote the afterword.
The images, both black & white and in color, provide a history of the manned space program, not only the Apollo missions to the moon, but the race to get there, with images of Vostok, Mercury, Voskhod, Gemini missions, and more. The images, both stereoscopic and two-dimensional, are reproduced throughout with plentiful captions explaining what the images show. For the stereoscopic images, the book includes a pair of plastic lenses which can be used to help make the pictures jump off the page. It does take some experimentation to find the right distance and manner in which to use these lenses, and bright light helps. Even if the lenses don't work for every reader, since the 3-D effect is accomplished without using red/green shading, the pictures can be enjoyed in 2-D splendor without them.
Connecting all of the images together is text outlining the background and goals of each mission. The text then discusses the events of the missions: their successes, obstacles, and failures. While the text doesn't offer any new insights into the missions, it does offer the context for the images which are included and provides general outline for the lunar experience which readers who are not overly familiar with the missions will find useful, outlining that the purposes of Apollo 12 and Apollo 14 were very different and that the six missions to land of the Moon were not simply NASA repeating what it had done before.
May includes several "bonus" images, and so there is a stereoscopic image of Pluto, several of the astronauts and Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov from the 2011 Starmus Festival, and even of May with Tim Peak, in addition to the older works. May also created a stereoscopic image, not included in the book of course, of Ultima Thule within days of the flyby on January 1, 2019. Eicher and May have also included a portrait of Neil Armstrong on the moon as painted by Apollo 12 moonwalker and artist Alan Bean.
While the Apollo missions to the moon took place fifty years ago, the timeliness of the book has been supported in the days right around New Year's 2019, when within a three day period, humans put a satellite in orbit around the asteroid Osiris, sent the New Horizons probe flying by the distant Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule, and landed the first probe/rover on the far side of the Moon to send back our first close up images of our nearest celestial neighbor, and provide materials for Eicher and May to start work on a follow-up volume.
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