The Future Is Here
We may earn a commission from links on this page

This 1965 Soviet Documentary About Lunar Colonization Is Astounding

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The Space Age gave birth to some absolutely beautiful visions of space exploration and life in space — including a ton of lovely artwork from Soviet creators. And one of the most striking Soviet works of space-age futurism came in 1965, in a documentary called Luna or Moon. The whole beautiful thing is online, with restored color.

As New Statesman explains, this is the work of Pavel Klushantsev, a Soviet artist and film-maker (we feature some of his art in the gallery linked above.) They add:

Klushantsev was a documentarian with a background in special effects and an obsession with the utopian possibilities of space travel, and he combined the two in a series of films in the 1950s and 60s that beautifully illustrated what he thought the future of humanity in space would look like. The first half of Luna is factual, featuring Soviet rocket and space scientists talking about what we knew of the Moon at the time, from mountains to craters, ancient volcanism to whether the surface is solid or covered in fine dust. (We now know that it is, but not so deep that a spacecraft cannot land in it.) There's a great bit starting at 22 minutes showing what happened to the Soviet Union's Luna 1 and Luna 2 probes, too, which were fired at the Moon directly and took some of our first good close-up photographs of the lunar surface. (Luna 1 was another Soviet space first - by missing the Moon it became the first human-made object to enter into orbit around the Sun.)

Yet it's the second half that's truly fantastic. Leonov's spacewalk segues into animated sequences showing how rockets might carry dogs and humans to the Moon, and then... we're there.


Some of the visuals of people walking (and living) on the Moon are absolutely beautiful, in a very 1960s retrofuturist way. There are some lovely screencaps at the New Statesman article. And the film also includes this rare color footage of the first ever spacewalk:

The whole thing (in Russian) is worth watching, especially the second half with the actual Moonbase stuff. [New Statesman]