By The Washington Post

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Subscribers: 400
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Episodes: 26

 Aug 15, 2019


“Truer, but also darker.” This is the real origin story behind America’s decision to go to the moon. The story we learn starts with Sputnik, then President Kennedy’s challenge, and ends with triumph: an American flag on the lunar surface. But in the 50 years that have passed since the moon landing, as presidential documents have been declassified and secret programs have been revealed, a wilder story has begun to emerge. “Moonrise,” a new Washington Post narrative mini-series, digs into the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, the transformation of American society and politics, and even the birth of science fiction, to unearth what really drove us to the moon. Join host Lillian Cunningham (of the Presidential and Constitutional podcasts) as she uncovers a story that has so much to reveal about America -- and about the dreams and nightmares of being human on this Earth.

Episode Date
The Dark Moon
Apollo 11 lifts off from Earth, fulfilling but also waking us from a longtime science-fiction dream. In the finale of “Moonrise,” we find ourselves on the moon.
Oct 22, 2019
Magnificent Desolation
The United States confronts race riots and the Vietnam War. Science fiction wrestles with its purpose now that space travel has become real. And NASA investigates its own failings. In the 11th chapter of “Moonrise,” we look inward.
Oct 15, 2019
The Beyond
Lyndon Johnson takes over the presidency following John F. Kennedy’s assassination, while rocketeer Sergei Korolev watches his fate rise and fall in the Soviet Union. In the 10th chapter of “Moonrise,” both countries hit setbacks in the race to the moon.
Oct 08, 2019
JFK and the Secret Tapes
John F. Kennedy announces the moonshot. Then the doubts creep in …In the ninth chapter of “Moonrise,” old White House recordings reveal the president’s true views on the space race.
Oct 01, 2019
A New Frontier
John F. Kennedy goes from senator to president. Space cowboys go from fiction to reality. And the United States chooses to go to the moon — in the eighth chapter of “Moonrise.”
Sep 24, 2019
Nightmare on the Hill
Congress investigates the Sputnik launch. Lyndon Johnson seizes the spotlight. And President Eisenhower gets backed into a corner. In the seventh chapter of “Moonrise,” space gets political.
Sep 17, 2019
A top-secret memo in the Eisenhower administration. A plan to make space the new military high ground. And a Soviet beep heard from above. In the sixth chapter of “Moonrise,” humans launch the very first object into orbit.
Aug 27, 2019
The Bomb and the Saucer
Nuclear fears haunt the American psyche. Fascination with aliens is on the rise. And the U.S. government begins secret rocket experiments. In the fifth installment of "Moonrise," the best and worst of science fiction's predictions start to spring to life.
Aug 20, 2019
Inside the Gulag
A Russian rocket dreamer is sent to a Siberian prison. And the road to redemption stretches more than 5,000 miles. On this episode of "Moonrise," a look at the maestro behind the Soviet space effort.
Aug 13, 2019
The Shapeshifter
A German rocket scientist with a secret mission and dark past. A science fiction editor under the watch of the FBI. In the third chapter of Moonrise, weapons of war lay the groundwork for space travel.
Aug 06, 2019
Visionaries of the Void
A tiny New York office fills with big ideas. A group of sci-fi writers bring space travel into popular culture. American rocketry begins to take flight. On this episode of Moonrise, the dream of the moon starts to become reality.
Jul 30, 2019
The Tale of the Blue Light
A man who meets himself on the moon. A blue orb that bursts into flames. The quest to explain the unexplained. In the first chapter of "Moonrise," the journey to space begins.
Jul 19, 2019
Introducing Moonrise

You’ve heard about how we landed on the moon, now find out why we went there. Host Lillian Cunningham introduces a new Washington Post podcast that will explore the real story behind the moonshot — a wild tale of nuclear brinkmanship, backroom politics and sci-fi influence ... Coming summer 2019.

We’ll be doing an exclusive preview of “Moonrise” at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium on Thursday, July 18, during Adler After Dark. Come listen to the first episode under the dome with us in a unique listening experience set against the stars. Then stick around for a conversation with Lillian Cunningham and an exciting panel of space experts. Click here to get tickets and find more information.

Jul 18, 2019