Tag Archives: Apollo 8

Apollo 8: Onboard 45 Years Later For “Earthrise”

Of all the posts we’ve been blessed to show you over the past months, one of our favorites, and still one of our most read, was the one entitled, “Apollo 8 Astronauts Read Creation From Genesis: Christmas Eve, 1968.” Astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Gorman had just become the first men to orbit the moon, and they were the men, in a group effort, who would take the most famous photograph in history, entitled “Earthrise.”
Earth From Space-Apollo 8I’ll share the link back to that story, in which I offer my own personal reflections of seeing and hearing these historic events unfold, including how much the world had changed in those 44 years, evidenced by the “In the beginning God …” postage stamp (still my favorite all-time U.S. stamp).
Apollo 8 StampIt was a tremendous thrill for me to share the transcript of the reading from Genesis, chapter 1, in which all 3 of the astronauts took turns reading from the Bible … and, then, we had a link to the actual broadcast of the reading from space … including the video, supplied by NASA.
For those of you who may have missed it, or would like to re-live those moments from Christmas Eve, 1968, here is the link to that post: Just click on the photograph to go directly there (it will open in a new window, in order for you to stay here, and enjoy the new video we have for you): Just click the photo to go to that story:

“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”.

And now, to celebrate the 45th anniversary (yes, 45 years) of the “Earthrise” photo, we will be able to go on board the Apollo 8 spacecraft, and experience how that famous photograph came to be … how the photograph was a group effort, requiring the astronauts to scramble to “grab that color film!” and how it took a tremendous series of events to “get the shot.”
Narrated by Andres Chalkin, the author of “A Man on the Moon,” enjoy this incredible video, and story, behind the most famous photograph ever taken:

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Apollo 8 Astronauts Read Creation From Genesis: Christmas Eve, 1968

“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”.

44 years ago, December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Gorman took turns reading from Genesis Chapter 1,
as their spacecraft returned to earth, after from orbiting the moon 10 times. This was the first time in history that a manned spacecraft had orbited the moon.

It was during this mission that the astronauts took those memorable first pictures of an “earthrise,” the earth “rising” above the moon’s surface.
The spacecraft had actually gotten within 70 miles of the lunar surface.
Earth From Space-Apollo 8
I remember so clearly these events, as so many of you do, also. I remember hearing the astronauts reading from the Scriptures, to the entire world, as literally, everyone who had the means to do so, listened to God’s Word, from space. Being raised in a Christian home, I didn’t think anything unusual or “strange” about this event. I think, however, of how much our world has changed over these years since. I was a huge fan of space travel, as I think most of us were, who grew up during these early launches. I still get a thrill everytime I drive by the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, with its beautiful blue pryamid building and the life-size replica of a Mercury-Redstone rocket (replica of Shepard’s spacecraft) in front. We drove by this remarkable Center 2 times just last week! Growing up, I was also an avid stamp collector, so I was overjoyed when the U.S. Postal Service put the “earthrise” photograph on the stamp.
Apollo 8 StampIf you really want to think about how our world has changed, think about that stamp: The United States Postal Service, on the stamp, engraving, “In the beginning God …” Just take a moment, and think about that, in light of today. Wow! The “earthrise” picture, by the way, was taken on the 9th lunar orbit, and is still considered the most famous picture ever taken from space. I have several of these stamps, in mint condition, in my files. I just checked: This 6 cent stamp is on Ebay for 1.73 each.

Anyway, I wanted to find out more about how the Scripture reading came into “creation;” The story behind it. Here is the story from Frank Gorman’s Autobiograpy, entitled “Countdown, An Autobigraphy,” by Frank Borman with Robert J. Sterling/William Morrow, 1988. The book is still available through Amazon:
Countdown by Frank Gorman“There was one more impression we wanted to transmit: our feeling of closeness to the Creator of all things. This was Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968, and I handed Jim and Bill their lines from the Holy Scriptures.”
About six weeks before launch, a NASA official had called Borman. Noting that the crew would be circling the earth on Christmas Eve, he said, “We figure more people will be listening to your voice than that of any man in history. So we want you to say something appropriate.”
Without time to research the question himself, Borman appealed to his friend Si Bourgin, a NASA employee. Bourgin posed the question to Joe Laitin, formerly a United Press International reporter. Laitin’s suggestion pleased Borman. He had the words typed on fireproof paper. For the men, homesick for earth, the chosen words could hardly be more appropriate.
Bill Anders read Genesis 1:1-4.
Ji
m Lovell took the next four verses.
Frank Borman finished with, “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 he called Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

As the men completed the orbit, Lovell said, “I don’t know who your two friends were, but they sure hit the target.”

And, now, as an extra special treat, here is the transcript of “The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast,” from NASA National Space Science Data Center.Archived from the original on 19 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
Following the transcript, is a dirct link to take you to the actual video recording of the entire message, as recorded live on December 24, 1968. Enjoy:

The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts; Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders did a live television broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and Moon seen from Apollo 8. Lovell said, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis.
William Anders:
“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send 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.”
Jim Lovell:
“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.”
Frank Borman:
“And God said, Let the waters under the heavens 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.”
Borman then added, “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 a direct link to this transcript, and the actual video:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo8_xmas.html