Experience Earthrise with Apollo 8

When we think of Apollo missions, most people think about Apollo 11. But Apollo 8 was a major breakthrough mission, with humans going beyond low earth orbit for the first time, going hundreds of times further away from Earth than anyone had ever been, and orbiting another body (the moon) for the first time. Earthrise was the culmination of that effort.

Given the sorry history of 1968 up to that point, the mission led someone to telegraph, “Thank you Apollo 8. You saved 1968.”

Lights in the Dark

On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 entered lunar orbit making astronauts Frank Borman, Bill Anders, and Jim Lovell the first humans in history to travel around the Moon and see first-hand its hidden far side. During their 10-orbit voyage they captured one of the most well-known and iconic images of the Space Age: the blue-and-white sphere of Earth floating in the blackness of space beyond the Moon’s cratered limb. It was the first time a person had ever taken such a magnificent photo of the two worlds, and thanks to the trove of data acquired by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter we can now recreate the exact moments that the historic event took place, down to the position of the Apollo 8 spacecraft and the conversation between the three men aboard.

The video above, released today by NASA, lets us all experience what it was like to catch a glimpse of…

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