Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rising earth greets Apollo VIII astronauts

While orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968, the three-man crew aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft—Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders—offered live holiday greetings from outer space. After describing the desolation and bleakness of the lunar landscape, the astronauts read from the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis. Commander Frank Borman concluded the historic interplanetary telecast—sent to an audience of half a billion people around the world—with the message: “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a merry Christmas, and God bless all of you—all of you on the good Earth.”

This photo, taken forty years ago, reveals the second greatest gift humanity has ever received. In this oft-repeated image, we see how small and isolated our home is. We are reminded that this is a gift that we share with every member of our human family, including all of those who have come before us as well as generations to come.

Image and caption (italicized) from the National Archives and Records Administration

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