When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Documentary
Image Entertainment || NR - 258 minutes - $69.98 || September 30, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-10-01

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): NA
Cast: Gary Sinise (narrator)

Supplemental Material:
  • Freedom 7
  • Friendship 7: John Glenn
  • Proud Conquest: Gemini 7 & 6
  • Apollo 8 Debrief
  • The Flight of Apollo 11
  • Film Highlights
  • Interviews
  • Mission Clips

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

Disc 1:
Ordinary Superman - NASA selects seven men to become the country's first astronauts, ushering in a bold new space age. NASA and the Mercury Seven embark on a bold journey into the unknown. No one knows what the outcome will be, or if the rigorous training hours will prepare them for travel exceeding 17,000 miles per hour...follow each astronaut in this journey to conquer space.

Friends and Rivals - A new group of astronauts arrive at NASA. Their mission - to take the first courageous steps toward landing a man on the moon. Welcome to Project Gemini. Witness Neil Armstrong's first space docking and Buzz Aldrin mastering this new vacuum of space.

Disc 2:
Landing the Eagle - The Apollo program is preparing for the ultimate prize of the Space Race, landing humans on the Moon. But a fire breaks out on Apollo 1 resulting in the deaths of three people in 1967. Two Missions later NASA is ready to go to the Moon.

The Explorers - NASA has successfully landed two astronauts on the Moon. Now the payoff in the scientific knowledge is about the be realizes. Apollo 13 puts the astronauts to the ultimate test: return a damages spacecraft safely back to Earth.

Disc 3:
The Shuttle - In its first 20 years, NASA launches capsules carrying a maximum of three people. But new requirements for a bigger cargo bay prompt a breakthrough in spacecraft design. The development of a reusable shuttle sparks a revolutionary approach for space travel.

A Home in Space - A complex marvel, the Hubble Space telescope is expected to transform our understanding of the universe. But NASA has a serious problem, a defective main mirror on the orbiting telescope. What do they do? Send a special team of astronauts to fix the problem.

- - Probably hoping to cash in on the continued success of Planet Earth on Blu-ray and HD DVD, Image has created a wonderful set of "episodes" that tell some of the greatest space stories of all time. Each disc includes two different episodes while the last includes some additional bonus materials (which are pretty more additional episodes). I sampled about fifteen minutes of each episode due to time constraints and found them to be incredibly entertaining. While some of the video and audio quality differs between each episode/segment, if you enjoy space travel or just want to see some great footage this set is for you!


All Special Features are presented in HD.

NASA: When We Left Earth is packaged in a 4 disc amaray case that includes an excellent looking slip cover as well as a small guide book with episode synopses as well as a timeline. Very nice work!

Freedom 7 - Covering 300 miles and lasting just 15 minutes, Alan B. Shepard Jr. etched his name in our minds forever.

Friendship 7: John Glenn - Relive launch footage from Cape Canaveral, including the exhilarating moments of re-entry, landing and recovery.

Proud Conquest: Gemini 7 & 6 - NASA achieves a rendezvous in Earth orbit with two pilotís spacecraft - Gemini 7 and Gemini 6.

Apollo 8 Debrief - Their mission - to embark on the first flight around the moon, preparing for those who would later land on its surface.

The Flight of Apollo 11 - The best of them all, Apollo 11 lands on the moon.

Discs 1, 2 and 3 also include additional special features that include various film highlights, interviews and mission clips that pertains to each episode. As far as extras go...this thing is loaded! Well over 4 hours of features makes it only a bit shorter than the actual episode themselves. Image really put a lot of effort into this set.


NASA: When We Left Earth is presented in 1080i - Aspect Ratio of 1.78:1 (though it does change from scene to scene sometimes) on 4, 25GB Discs. Picture quality is very tough to judge here because some footage is forty years old while others is brand new (interviews). Older footage is incredibly grainy with tons of marks and dirt while some of the newer material looks a lot better - though still not very HD-like. If you buy this know what you're getting into - this is not Planet Earth.

Image has includes a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track for this release. Much like the picture quality, audio quality varies. Some scenes sound pretty good while others...not so much. As it stands, itís simply average and while I was never "blown away" with the quality, it still sounded pretty decent.


Image has taken the rare step in releasing a set that may not appeal to everyone - but at a very low attractive price (less than $50) with hours of footage and special features I think they did a great job. This may not be for everyone, but this would make a fantastic Holiday gift to someone with a brand new Blu-ray player.