Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Christmas Eve 40 Years Ago
Only twenty four people in history have seen this stunning view of earthrise first hand. The crew of Apollo 8 were the first to witness the incredible and unanticipated sight of the earth rising over the lunar horizon on Christmas Eve, 1968
On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and three days later, Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders became the first humans to enter lunar orbit.
The mission ultimately led to the first footsteps on the moon when Neil Armstrong took his "one small step" in 1969.
Apollo 8 also marked a rare moment of unity in the United States in a tumultuous year marred by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, violence peaking during the Vietnam War and riots across American cities.
Shortly after entering the moon's orbit, astronauts aboard the Apollo 8 witnessed Earth rising above the moon.
"Earthrise," a photograph of the event taken by Anders, became one of the most famous images of the 20th century.
In a Christmas Eve broadcast timed to coincide with a full view of Earth, the crew read the first 10 verses of the Book of Genesis that forms the basis for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. You can read the complete article here.