This Podcast Lands You on the Moon

I woke up this morning, and my first thought was, “Ugh, why is my stomach hurting? What happened?”

Then I remembered…the National Fried Chicken Festival happened. Specifically, seven (7) fried chicken sandwiches at the National Fried Chicken Festival happened.

On Saturday night — too full to eat anymore, but plagued by FOMO — I just waddled around the festival, buying chicken sandwiches to go like I was collecting Pokemon.

To be clear, I regret nothing. But one doesn’t simply eat seven fried chicken sandwiches and walk away from it unscathed. I ate all my to-go sandwiches yesterday, which is probably why I feel like this now.

Ate a day-old Blue Oak BBQ fried chicken sandwich yesterday and it was better than ever!

Usually, when I’m feeling a little hungover — either from drinks, too much salt, or seven fried chicken sandwiches — I have a tried and true method to set me on the road to recovery. I go for a run.

Apparently most people don’t go for a run when they’re not feeling great, but — for me — it works wonders. I get some fresh air, I sweat out the toxins (I have no idea if there are actually toxins coming out of me, but I definitely sweat), and I drink lots of water or a Gatorade or a kombucha or something else that is neither booze or fried chicken.

But the best part of going for a run — the reason I’ve gone for a run most days over the last half-decade — is because of podcasts. These things are amazing! Whether it’s a podcast reviewing movies, or telling stories, or giving blog tips, or recounting history or whatever, I love running along the river for an hour while learning something new.

In recent memory, though, one podcast has taken the cake:

Just listen to that Hans Zimmer theme song!

With music like that, you know the podcast has got to be good. And it is!

13 Minutes to the Moon is a 12-episode series from the BBC that covers the 13 minutes between when the lunar module fires its engines to begin its final powered descent to the moon, and when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin *spoiler alert* actually land on the lunar surface.

It happened 50 years ago (1969!) so it’s timely, and — while the first couple of episodes drag a little — the series is so engaging. Primarily because the event being explained is so remarkable.

Think about it: the 1960s. JFK is assassinated. Bobby Kennedy is assassinated. MLK is assassinated. Vietnam. The Cold War. I sound like a Billy Joel song, but there’s so much turmoil in the country at the time.

But, somehow — in the midst of national division that seems to far exceed every today’s — a huge majority of the country became united around completing this seemingly impossible task. In 1962, when JFK spoke at Rice University in Houston, he set a goal for the nation to land on the Moon before the end of the decade. At that point, the Russians had already had a human orbit the Earth while the U.S. was far behind.

Over the next nearly-eight years, more than 400,000 Americans worked on various components of the Apollo program. It was a huge commitment of time and money. People died. Huge mistakes were made. But the giant leap in technological advancement that came from Kennedy’s speech is as great a testament as any to the good that can come from setting big goals and following through.

In the podcast, we learn about the roller coaster of world and domestic events that led to the Apollo 11 mission. We learn about the innovations that pushed us into the information age. And we get to sit right there in the room and observe — not only how Mission Command works — but how they became one of the most impressive communication teams in world’s history over a relatively modest amount of time.

If you’re looking for a thrilling podcast that will take you on an incredible journey. Look no further than the BBC’s 13 Minutes to the Moon.

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