APOLLO 8; WHEN OUR SPECIES FIRST LEFT EARTH WITH A DESTINATION IN MIND.
Photo Credit: NASA; Click for full size photo and see below for information, links & 7 videos.
At 12:51:00 UTC on December 21, 1968 Apollo 8 launched From Kennedy Space Centers Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). It was the second manned flight of Project Apollo and the third flight of the most powerful non-weapon ever created; the Saturn-V (Saturn 5) rocket which was designated SA-503 for Saturn/Apollo-5, 3rd flight.
Something about this flight was different however……there were humans onboard. This was the first manned flight of the Saturn V rocket and without wasting any time; Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders were being sent to orbit the Moon.
In the course of the mission they became the first humans to ever leave Earth orbit and view the Earth as a whole. They became the first humans to enter into orbit around anything other than the Earth. They were the first humans to view the far side of the Moon with their own eyes. And of course, on December 24, the iconic Earthrise photo was taken. It was the first color image ever taken of the Earth. Also on Christmas Eve, the three astronauts, during a live broadcast took turns reading from the book of Genesis (I posted the video below as well):
“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.”
It took three days to get to the Moon which they then orbited 10 times before returning to Earth and splashing down in the Northern Pacific Ocean on December 27 at 15:51 UTC.
NASA Apollo 8 page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo8.html
Apollo Image Atlas: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/
Apollo 8 Flight Journal: http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/01launch_ascent.htm
Apollo Archive (Apollo 8): http://www.apolloarchive.com/apollo_gallery.html
NASA Apollo 8 Earthrise; the first color image of the Earth: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_1249.html
When We Left Earth: Apollo 8 Launch:
Apollo 8 Launch (Raw ABC Broadcast):
Apollo 8 Launch (Raw Video):
Apollo 8 Earthrise: 45 Anniversary Edition:
First Broadcast From Around The Moon W’ Genesis Reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5ODWzoxobg
Apollo 8 Documentary:
Apollo 8 Christmas Message: