NASA reveals story behind the iconic Earthrise photo taken by Apollo 8 camera
How many images of Earth have you seen? Recently, NASA has shared one of the most iconic shots of our planet which is of Earth as seen by the crew of Apollo 8. NASA further said that once the Artemis I reaches the Moon, it will have new Earthrise images to share. It can be known that NASA is all set to return to the Moon with its Artemis I rocket on August 29, 2022 and as per the latest details, the rocket has been moved to the launch pad for final preparation.
Coming to the Earthrise photo, it can be known that "Earthrise" is the name given to a photograph of the Earth taken by Anders during lunar orbit on December 24, 1968. Earthrise became one of the most famous photographs from all of the Apollo missions and one of the most reproduced space photographs of all time. It has been credited for inspiring the beginning of the environmental movement.
NASA also shared the story behind the image saying that, "On Christmas Eve, 1968, none of the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 were prepared for the spellbinding moment when they would first see their home planet rise from behind the desolate lunar horizon. The vision of Earth provided them the first spot of color as they floated in the blackness of space, orbiting the lunar surface."
Apollo 8 was launched on December 21, 1968 from Cape Kennedy, Fla., at 7:50 a.m. According to NASA, nearly three hours later, translunar injection was performed and astronauts Col. Frank Borman, commander; Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr., command module pilot; and Major William A. Anders, lunar module pilot, were on their way to the moon, becoming the first mission to provide humans a roundtrip visit to another celestial body.
"Apollo 8 achieved many other firsts, including becoming the first manned mission launched on the Saturn V rocket and from NASA's new Moonport, taking the first pictures of the Earth from deep space by humans and enabling the first live television coverage from the lunar surface," it said.
The Earthrise Photo
Many have seen and admired the "Earthrise" photo as the grandfather of all the modern space images seen today, but how many actually know the history behind Earthrise? Explaining the same, the research organisation said, "In February, Anders visited Johnson Space Center for a BBC documentary interview in which he talked about the Apollo 8 mission, its historical significance, his personal experiences during launch and lunar orbit and how he managed to shoot the unforgettable Earthrise photo."
Anders said their job was not to look at the Earth, but to simulate a lunar mission. It was not until things had calmed down and they were on their way to the moon that they actually got to look back and take a picture of the Earth as they had left it. "That's when I was thinking 'that's a pretty place down there,'" Anders said. "It hadn't quite sunk in like the Earthrise picture did, because the Earthrise had the Earth contrasted with this ugly lunar surface."
Anders described the view of Earth before Earthrise "kind of like the classroom globe sitting on a teacher's desk, but no country divisions. It was about 25,000 miles away where you could still recognize continents."
Anders said they were in darkness as they were, "just starting to go around, behind the moon, still in contact with the Earth, but in the shadow of not only the sun but also Earth shine, Earth shine being six times brighter than moon shine," NASA quoted.