Bill Anders got the roll of color film in the camera just in time to take this historic photo Earth rising over the sun-baked lunar landscape on December 24, 1968. Bill Anders / NASA
50 years ago on December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronaut crew captured one of the most iconic color images of the space age. The three men — Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank Borman — were the first leave the embrace of Earth and enter lunar orbit. Circling the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve, they saw Earth rise over a forbidding lunar landscape. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the use of the Apollo command and service modules while orbiting the moon and take high-resolution photos of proposed Apollo landing areas.
On Apollo 8’s fourth of 10 orbits of the moon, mission commander Frank Borman performed a roll maneuver that brought a surprise visitor into view from Bill Anders’ cabin window — the rising Earth! Here’s a quick summary of the video (below), which was created for the 45th anniversary and worth seeing again:
At 10:38 a.m. (Central Time) Anders calls out:
“Oh my God, look at that picture over there! There’s ...