Space Documentary Recommendation

My son is 4 years old (going on 12) and is obsessed with space and rockets. I just took him to the Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, AL which we both loved. If you have young children who like space stuff, take them now - it was great. (End of public service announcement).

He has enjoyed watching the NASA channel with me and enjoys space documentaries in general, but I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations on any documentaries that were fairly accessible for a young boy. Although it shouldn’t be too “kiddie” as he watched 30 minutes of the Space Shuttle’s fuel take being transported by boat to NASA’s facilities and lifted into its storage place the other day fascinated.

Bonus points for anything available on Netflix via XBox 360, but that might be asking too much.

Battlefield Earth. Might as well start him out on the truth, and not the charade NASA and the government have been running all these years.

Pah the truth would be Battlestar Galactica.

The original!

It’s not a documentary but October Sky was a great movie and is a true story.

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, still the best (although being nearly 30 years old now I’m not sure how well it holds up factually). They released an updated box set a couple of years back I think (still on my to buy list).

Here’s the perfect choice:

In the Shadow of the Moon is a great documentary that tells the story of the Apollo missions to the moon in the words of the astronauts who flew them. Vintage NASA footage has never looked so sharp and inspiring. Huge thumbs up.

Here’s a short description of the movie that I wrote for my top ten favorite movies list of 2007.

Cosmos is still the best thing around. You may need to watch it with him to fact check some stuff that may have changed in the years since the show was made (and even in the time since it was updated and released on DVD), but nothing beats Carl Sagan explaining the 4th spatial dimension with tangrams and an apple.

I’d recommend avoiding The Universe from the History Channel, as it really should be called How Everything In The Universe Could Kill Us All At Any Moment! since that’s all it ever fucking talks about.

From the Earth to the Moon is a awesome mini-series (6 episodes?) produced by Tom Hanks. It tells the entire Apollo story from the 1st to the last. Awesome views. Makes you feel like you’re walking on the moon! In the same vein as Band of Brothers, with actors playing real people. Great series!

The Dream is Alive.

I was hesitating from recommending “From Earth to the Moon” given your son’s age, but then I remember enjoying “The Right Stuff” (parts of it, anyway) when I wasn’t much older. Show it to him until he complains that it’s boring. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t.

I second the In The Shadow of the Moon recommendation. Fantastic film.

Try The Universe. It’ll probably be over his head, but he’ll no doubt pick up a lot more than you’d think.

No, don’t try The Universe. It’s a sensationalist show with very little educational value, or at least the first season was. Much of it is about how various incomprehensibly rare space phenomena can kill all life on earth at any moment.

Am I thinking of the wrong show? I just saw one (I think it was The Universe) about the efforts to send people to Mars and I learned quite a bit.

Good recommendations, guys (and gals maybe?). Anyhoo. I queued up a few from Netflix and will give them a run.

He’s currently obsessed with all things Apollo, since we got to see the Saturn V, the lunar module, and the lunar rover while we were in Huntsville. By the way, the Saturn V was incredible. It’s hard to describe how big it is. For something like that to launch must have been quite a sight. Amazing.

We are now planning a trip down to FL to see a shuttle launch.

We can’t wait.

The non-documentary Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, et al is pretty good also. A little more dramatic license, but that kind of adds to the fun. And it’s supposedly pretty accurate. But From the Earth to the Moon gets my vote for an actual documentary.

I’ll second “The Right Stuff” for a theatrical release . . .

“Spam in a can, spam in a can!”

If you ever get a chance to come to the DC area with your son, definitely make time for the Udvar Hazy Air & Space Museum out by Dulles airport. They have all kinds of neat early space era stuff, ranging from suits to capsules. They even have the (nonfunctional prototype) Space Shuttle.

Another nod for “From the Earth to the Moon”. It’s long, but you needn’t sit through it all in one go.

The movie Apollo 13 is also good, in a similar vein, but shorter and more focused; plus it’s on “instant watch” with Netflix. Presumably that means it’s also available via Xbox live?