December 24, 1968. On this date, three astronauts had recently become the first human beings to leave our home planet and travel to another body in space. They all later said the most important thing they discovered was Earth. Today is the anniversary of the famous Apollo 8 Earthrise photograph captured by those astronauts.
A few years ago, on the 45th anniversary of this photo, NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio released the video below. It’s a visualization of the events leading up to the photo’s capture.
In this video, you hear the voices of the Apollo 8 astronauts: Commander Frank Borman and crew members William A. Anders and James A. Lovell. The video lets you see the view these Apollo 8 astronauts saw as, during a roll maneuver of their craft, they peered from a window and noticed Earth ascending over the lunar horizon.
You can hear them grappling, trying to find and load color film into the camera.
Bottom line: On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts captured what has become one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century – Earthrise from the moon.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.