Houston, 1968 – Apollo 8

In this minisode, Mark takes us further than we’ve ever been before, in a story that’s out of this world! From Houston, Texas, in 1968, we tell the story of the USA’s space programme and how Christmas came to be the backdrop to the first voyage by humans around the moon. Often overshadowed by Apollo 11’s Moon Landing a few months later, Apollo 8 laid vital foundations, and took place during the festive season, watched by millions of families around the world.

The most significant source for Mark’s (@markboyle86) script was Jeffrey Kluger’s book “Apollo 8: the Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon“. You will hear the voices of Joe (@anbeirneach), and Luke (@thelukejkelly) as well.

In addition to our theme music by the talented Thomas O’Boyle, this episode featured a lot of music and sound effects, graciously made available for free by contributors at FreeSound.org, and Free Music Archive for use under a Creative Commons license, by attribution.

The pieces of music you heard under the text were “Swiftwind” and “Expectations” by Lee Rosevere, Kai Engel‘s “Interception“, “Holiday Gift” and “Brand New World” (the latter two from his Christmas album Sustains), and “The Healing” by Sergey Cheremisinov, all available under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 Licence. Tristan Longherin’s ambient sound “Spaceship Atmosphere 01” and hello_flowers’ “Hypnotic Heartbeat Atmosphere” were also used in this piece under Creative Commons Licenses. Thanks to those artists who make their work available for podcasters like us. The version of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” that is heard in the minisode was uploaded by Mystery Mammal and is in the public domain.

If you want to hear more archive audio from the mission, highlights have been made available on the Internet Archive here.


The famous photo “Earthrise” taken by Anders duirng Apollo 8

Georgia or “Sakartvelo” (S2.07)

S02E07 Georgia Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: an exploration podcast we’ll be talking about Georgia. Not the US state, but the country in the south caucasus, known to its inhabitants as “Sakartvelo”. This former Soviet Republic is nestled between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and is home to around 3.7 Million people with a history dating back thousands of years. Throughout its history, Georgia has been subject to numerous larger powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and dynasties of Persia (Iran) and the Soviet Union. As the Iron Curtain fell, Georgia declared its independence and has operated as a modern Republic ever since. It’s neighbour to the North, Russia, however, has ensured that Georgia’s hold over independence has never been as secure as most Georgians would like. Ethnic conflicts and economic turmoil beset the country throughout the 1990s, culminating in the brief Russo-Georgian war of 2008, from which tensions still remain to this day.  

Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Switzerland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle)

Map of Georgia, indicating disputed areas

Here are a few things you may want to read/watch more about:

The stunning mountain fortress of Vardzia today (Wikimedia Commons)

Most of the music in this episode were examples of Georgian polyphonic singing, a very important style of music, being the oldest polyphonic music in the world (singled out by UNESCO as a vital aspect of cultural heritage).Some examples are:

  • “Chakrulo”, which was one of 27 musical compositions included on the Voyager Golden Records that were sent into space on Voyager 2 on 20 August 1977.
  • Here’s another example in the “Georgia and the Great Caucasus” documentary

Georgian folk dancing is also a wonderful tradition, here are a few videos of that:

Finally, we promised to include the video of the insane baptism rituals available in the Georgian Orthodox Church, so from EuroNews, here it is:

A massive thanks to the inimitable Gary O’Daly and Jeffrey Dokar, two of the backers of our recent Kickstarter Campaign – thank you for making Season 2 possible. Big thanks also to Mariam Kalandarshvili for talking to us and helping us understand (and pronounce) some elements of Georgian history; we now know that the capital is T’bee-lee-see! Thanks too to our sponsor Hairy Baby, who in addition to making the funniest Irish-themed t-shirts, have also produced the official 80 Days shirt for our supporters. Find it by clicking here. You can get 10% off anything on www.hairybaby.com by using our promo code “80DAYS”.