On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman arrived at lunar orbit, making them the first humans in history to witness an Earthrise. The images taken on that day, which depict our planet in the context of the lunar landscape, are among the most enduring photos taken during the Apollo program – and human history.
The iconic photograph was taken around the moon during its fourth orbit.
"Oh my god, look at that picture over there!", Exclaimed Anders. Wow, that's pretty! "
Anders grabbed his camera and took the scene in. Today, the Earthrise photo is often aligned to show the earth above a horizontal plane that became a photo however, actually taken over the vertical plane (as shown here.) If you look at the photo, you will see the sunset line that spans Africa and the Antarctic, while North and South America are heavily clouded.
A black-and-white photo of the Earthrise was recorded on the same day Earth rises above a horizontally oriented surface The photo, which was presumably taken by Anders, was taken when the Apollo 8 capsule was at 100 degrees east of the Moon and showed a lunar horizon line that was about 570 kilometers
Back on Earth an estimated half a billion people voted with the charisma of Christmas bends – the largest television audience so far.
"We were told that on Christmas Eve we had the largest audience that ever listened to a human voice," Borman said at an Apollo jubilee event in 2008. "And the only instruction we received from NASA was, Doing something appropriate. "
Lovell said that the" great loneliness "he felt as he walked around the moon was" awe-inspiring "and made him" understand what you have there on earth. "He described his home planet as a" great oasis for the vast expanses of outer space. "
Borman, who saw the moon, was struck by his dead and lifeless appearance.
"The moon is different for each of us. I think each one of us – each one of us has his own sense of what he saw today, "said Borman." I know that I have the impression that this is a huge, lonely, forbidden existence, which represents a great deal of nothing and looks more like clouds and pumice clouds, and it does not seem to be a very inviting place to live or work. "
The next day – Christmas Day 1968 – the Apollo 8 crew left Lunar Orbit and returned home Lovell confirmed the successful firing of the engines by telling the mission control: "Please inform yourself that there is a Santa Claus." These photos were taken for granted, but they were the first ones related to our planet Since then many photos of the Earth and the Moon have been made, but the original Earthrise photo has something special – an image that is everlasting inspires, gives hope and relativizes our place in the cosmos.
[NASA Earth Observatory]