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230 Leonardo Reviews Synthetic Investigations of the Russian Vanguard; Music in Colored Light and Harmonia Mundi; Dance Analogies and “Absolute Rhythm;” The Serial Principle and Transformed Material; The Intermedia Synthesis; Graphic Music; and Plastic Sound. FULL MOON by Michael Light. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1999. 244 pp., illus. Trade, $50.00. ISBN: 0-375-40634-4. Reviewed by Will Marchant, 7962 Leeds Manor Road, Marshall, VA 20115, U.S.A. E-mail: . This book and a number of others have recently come out in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the first landing by humans on the Moon. When President Kennedy announced to the United States Congress on 25 May 1961 the goal of landing a man on the Moon, few people would have expected the derivative benefits. The United States was locked in an apparent struggle with the Soviet Union for mastery of the world. The Soviets had launched the first artificial Earth satellite, the first biological payload and the first human to orbit the Earth. The Soviets had done everything in space first and the American public was reeling from the implications of an orbiting nuclear bomb that would be able to strike any spot on the Earth. The cry heard in the United States was “Our rockets always blow up.” President Kennedy faced a public relations disaster , in spite of his secret knowledge that the U.S. atomic and missile arsenal was vastly superior to that of the Soviet Union. Politicians must cater to the public in spite of the facts, and Kennedy needed a space spectacular to put the U.S.A. back on top; what could be more spectacular than a trip to the Moon? In Full Moon, Michael Light takes us on a trip to the Moon in loosely three parts. In Part One, we leave Earth in the mighty Saturn V launch vehicle and spend some time orbiting our home planet. He shares some of the spectacular vistas that are reserved for the select few that have left our Earth. He has chosen to include a few images of space-walking astronauts from the Gemini program. Gemini was a series of space missions designed as technology demonstrators to prove the feasibility of the Apollo program and to provide practice in activities that would be required for a successful journey. In Part Two, we land on the Moon and explore the desolate landscape. Light has pulled together multiple frames into some spectacular panoramic views of the lunar surface and of the Apollo explorers. In Part Three, we leave the Moon and journey back to Earth for a fiery reentry and landing in the ocean. Light has obviously spent considerable effort in utilizing original negatives from the space program to create gorgeous prints for this book, although some of the images in my copy suffered from minor imperfections in the printing process. I assume this is a legacy of the deep, dark backgrounds in many of the images. Cosmonauts and astronauts were the first humans to view an Earth where the scale of the planet showed the arbitrary and insignificant nature of political boundaries. This was readily apparent to spacefarers in low Earth orbit, only a few hundred miles above the surface, but the Apollo astronauts were in for a surprise when coming out from behind the Moon to watch an “Earthrise” over the lunar horizon. The photographs of Earthrise became an instant hit with the media and the worldwide public. Never before had so many realized that we live on such a tiny and fragile speck in the universe. And this sense of global unity has given rise to whole new ways of studying the interaction of Earth environments and biospheres. The United States did “beat” the Russians to the Moon, although the political nature of the Apollo program led to an almost immediate cutback in funds and the eventual cancellation of the project. The human race has only recently begun to return to the Moon with robotic exploration craft to search for water and perform other scientific investigations. The Soviet Union has crumbled, and it is difficult to remember today the urgency felt over the competition in space...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 230
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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