This iconic photo, the first taken of our planet from the Moon, celebrates its 45th anniversary today on Christmas Eve.
On 24 December 1968, three gentlemen in Apollo 8 did something new and something more that no one else had done before. They’d just become the first to pilot a spacecraft out of Earth-orbit and into the orbit of another celestial body, the Moon. What astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders did by complete accident as they were mapping the lunar surface was observe and take pictures of an Earthrise over the Moon. These would be the first colour photographs of our planet taken by a person in lunar orbit.
As the only representatives of the human species to witness this special event in space, orbiting the Moon, almost a quarter of a million miles away from the safety of home, Lovell’s statement upon seeing the Earth rising over the Moon remains ever true:
” … a grand oasis in the big vastness of space …”
The “Earthrise” became the cover photo of TIME’s “Great Images of the 20th Century”, and was the key photograph on the cover of LIFE’s “100 Photographs That Changed the World”.
To reproduce how and where this remarkable and special event took place, the clever folks at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) combined images and audio taken by Apollo 8 with the most recent data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and produced a short video, which I’ve included below. I think the video is gripping stuff, and you have to be moved at the moment the astronauts realize what they’re seeing, and decades later, we now also get to share in that historical moment …
From NASA’s YouTube channel:
PetaPixel provided additional coverage with a story about this historical event here.
The colour photo above was made by the Apollo 8 crew and accessed from the NASA GSFC website. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.