PBS (Wed., July 19, 9 P.M. ET)
Where were you the night of July 20, 1969? Like most Americans, you were most likely stationed in front of your TV watching astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin become the first men to set foot on the moon. Since then, only 10 other earthlings have been there. To honor the 20th anniversary of this luminous event, the post-lunar lives of eight astronauts from the Apollo space program are examined in an intriguing, 90-minute documentary. For most of them, the experience of seeing the earth from 250,000 miles away has left them spiritually enriched and occasionally spaced out. Alan Bean has become an artist, his sole subject matter the moon (he mixes his oils with space dust); Al Worden writes rhyming poetry that comes to him in the middle of the night; Jim Irwin has dedicated his life to finding Noah’s ark, while Rusty Schweickart, who lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, Calif., has founded an organization to promote space as an arena for peace.
Since these men have seen the world from such a unique perspective, their observations about our place in the universe tend to be pretty mystical. The reclusive Armstrong declined to be interviewed, having been in a waning phase of his publicity cycle for quite a while now.