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'8 Days: To the Moon and Back' Shows Apollo 11 Milestones

Ready to relive the first landing mission on the moon, five decades ago? PBS and BBC Studios will bring viewers through Apollo 11's major milestones in the new film "8 Days: To the Moon and Back."

The movie premieres on PBS today (July 17) at 9 p.m. EDT, three days before the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on July 20. The film includes recently declassified mission audio recordings, new studio footage, a variety of NASA and news archives, and a recreation of the journey using computer-generated imagery.

"With access to previously classified and little-heard, rare audio recordings and using amazing re-enactment and special effects, '8 Days: To the Moon and Back' captures the story of Apollo 11 as it really happened," Bill Margol, PBS' senior director of programming and development, said in a statement. 

Related: Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing

"From these unique audio recordings, we hear, and now can see, the Apollo 11 crew's real fears and excitement from within the spacecraft, offering an intimate look into the breathtaking and awe-inspiring journey of the most important and celebrated mission ever flown," he said.

Actors participating in the reenactments include Rufus Wright ("Rogue One: A Star Wars Story") as commander Neil Armstrong, Jack Tarlton ("The Imitation Game") as lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and Patrick Kennedy ("Mrs. Wilson" and "Downton Abbey") as command module pilot Michael Collins.

"For the first time, this film takes audiences inside the mission to experience the actual journey of those three astronauts in the most intimate and spectacular of fashions," Andrew Cohen, BBC Studios executive producer and head of science, said in the same statement. "This is the ultimate documentary of the moon shot; it's as if we've gone back 50 years and made the film we'd always dreamt of."

The new film is part of PBS' "Summer of Space" multiplatform experience, which includes programming on PBS stations, and the PBS video app for mobile and other platforms.

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.