Apollo 8's famous 'Earthrise' photo taken 50 years ago today

How Apollo 8 astronaut snapped an iconic

How Apollo 8 astronaut snapped an iconic

That flight was the most demanding, he said, "But Apollo 8 was the one of exploration, the one of repeating the Lewis and Clark expedition ... finding the new Earth".

As the spacecraft orbited the moon on Christmas Eve 1968, precisely 50 years ago, he and Lovell and Borman got their first view - humanity's first view - of the Earth rising over the wasteland of the moon. What pushes us to Mars? He took a few more shots, then went back to business.

"With a powerful cultural significance, Apollo 8 sent back a famous photograph of the Earth from lunar orbit, cementing the popular image of a fragile planet in living color", Smith said. The agency meant to launch missions of increasing difficulty flying in alphabetical order.

The crew, consisting of veteran astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, and rookie 'naut William Anders (making what would become his only jaunt into space) had launched at 12:51 UTC on 21 December as NASA battled delays in its Moon programme and the phantom threat of the Soviet Union flinging a crew at the Moon first. The "C" mission would be a manned A mission (Apollo 7), the "D" mission a manned B mission (Apollo 9), then the "E" mission would fly in a high elliptical orbit. That first voyage by humans to another world set the stage for the still grander Apollo 11 moon landing seven months later. The Navy veteran and Cornersburg resident remembers the splashdown of the returning Apollo 8 capsule, however.

Three-hundred-and-ninety-eight years later, on December 21, 1968, the three astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders entered Apollo's chariot.

KING: It was the first time that human beings had ventured to and orbited the moon.

Starting with the launch. Thereare also special tools used in orbit. The NOVA program traces how engineers had to tweak the design of the Saturn V's F-1 rocket engines to make sure they didn't blow themselves apart due to combustion instability. Borman was, however, less impressed with the idea of space tourism and plans to send non-astronauts to Mars.

The view just south of Florida. In the second of two television broadcasts, the crew of Apollo 8 read a Christmas message to the people of Earth. The pictures that aren't perfectly framed. It was a remarkable time in this country's history.

LEWIS: It wasn't just the crew of Apollo 8 that reflected during the flight. Anders spoke to NASA about looking back at Earth during their almost three-day trek to the Moon. Of the 865 still pictures the astronauts took, only 14 show the Earth with the lunar horizon in the foreground. Personally, this is my favourite. Cosmonaut Gherman Titov had become unwell in his Vostok back in 1961, but relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S. meant that NASA wasn't privy to all the details.

This is a weird one but I sort of love it. They soon got confirmation when Lovell radioed, "Roger, please be informed there is a Santa Claus". The moon in 46 years, people free.

At least one of these three stations would have a dish that would face the spacecraft at any given time, receiving their communications and passing them to Mission Control in Houston, Texas.

After three of the 10 orbits around the moon during which the astronauts filmed and photographed craters and mountains on the moon, Borman rolled the craft away from the moon for the first time, pointing the windows towards the horizon to get a navigational fix. And people are still outraged! For the first time in history, we were no longer exclusively an Earth-bound species'. Here's a recap of the reading and the resulting lawsuit in a couple of older videos.

It alone may have been enough to secure Apollo 8's place in the conscience of humanity.

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