While ISS astronauts do a spacewalk this Christmas eve, I thought that this would be the best tribute I could make for them, and for all of my readers, contributors, and moderators.
Audio and some stunning new video follow.
On December 24, 1968, in what was the most watched television broadcast at the time, the crew of Apollo 8 read in turn from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon. Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman recited verses 1 through 10, using the King James Version text.
“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'”
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.’
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.”
Here is the historic audio clip of the text above:
That happened 45 years ago today, when the Apollo 8 astronauts suddenly noticed the Earth “rising” over the lunar horizon. Despite all of the planning for the mission, this event was a complete surprise, and they scrambled to load color film and get cameras ready.
NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio has created a marvelous recreation of the event, using 3D modeling, original audio from the onboard recorder, and the actual photographs of the moment on December 24, 1968, when the astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission orbiting the moon were unexpectedly confronted with an “Earthrise” and worked together to snap some of the most viewed photography in history. This is an excerpt from the full public-domain video, narrated by the Apollo mission historian Andy Chaikin:
In 2007, an HD camera aboard Japan’s Kaguya satellite videotaped earth ‘rising’ and ‘setting.’ Set to music by Peter Rundquist, the images bring home the lonely, extraordinary nature of this “pale blue dot.”
h/t to Andrew Revkin for that video