Moondust - In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 February, 2006, 12:00am

Moondust - In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth


by Andrew Smith


Bloomsbury, $159


Socialite Perveen Crawford hopes to be Hong Kong's first astronaut, joining 100 private individuals paying US$200,000 for a ticket on the Virgin Galactic Fleet's VSS Enterprise when it blasts off in 2008. Richard Branson is only taking them to the edge of space, a mere 100km away. A return to the moon, visited by only 12 men from 1969 to 1972, is still a long way off, despite the hollow promises of successive US presidents. There are nine moonwalkers left and, in Moondust, British journalist Andrew Smith tracks them down to ask about life since the moon. What he finds is a bunch of mostly boring old men weary of being asked: 'What was it like?' Moondust has been called 'both sympathetic and bracingly unsentimental', but it also recaptures a fascination that briefly united the world. What did Apollo XI through to XVII achieve for the US$100 billion price tag? Former US president Lyndon Johnson said: 'If we could send a man to the moon, we knew we should be able to send a poor boy to school and provide decent medical care for the aged.'