december 1968

Earthrise : Whats that rising over the edge of the Moon? Earth. About 47 years ago, in December of 1968, the Apollo 8 crew flew from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were launched atop a Saturn V rocket on December 21, circled the Moon ten times in their command module, and returned to Earth on December 27. The Apollo 8 missions impressive list of firsts includes: the first humans to journey to the Earths Moon, the first to fly using the Saturn V rocket, and the first to photograph the Earth from deep space. As the Apollo 8 command module rounded the farside of the Moon, the crew could look toward the lunar horizon and see the Earth appear to rise, due to their spacecrafts orbital motion. Their famous picture of a distant blue Earth above the Moons limb was a marvelous gift to the world. via NASA

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Forty-Fifth Anniversary of Iconic ‘Earthrise’ Image

Forty-five years ago, in December of 1968, the Apollo 8 crew flew from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were launched atop a Saturn V rocket on Dec. 21, circled the Moon ten times in their command module, and returned to Earth on Dec. 27. The Apollo 8 mission’s impressive list of firsts includes: the first humans to journey to the Earth’s Moon, the first to fly using the Saturn V rocket, and the first to photograph the Earth from deep space. As the Apollo 8 command module rounded the far side of the Moon on Dec. 24, the crew could look toward the lunar horizon and see the Earth appear to rise, due to their spacecraft’s orbital motion. Their famous picture of a distant blue Earth above the Moon’s limb was a marvelous gift to the world.

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Earth rise on the Moon

On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were coming around from the far side of the Moon on their fourth orbit. Borman began to roll the spacecraft, and as he did, the Earth rose into view over the Moon’s limb. Anders, photographing the Moon from the right side window, caught sight of the view, and exclaimed: “Oh my God, look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth comin’ up. Wow, is that pretty!”

He snapped a black and white photo (bottom), capturing humanity’s first view of Earth from another planetary body. A few minutes later, Anders put color film in the camera and took the iconic color photographs of a half Earth hanging over the lunar horizon.

Credit: NASA/Earth Observatory