It was fifty years ago today- Christmas Eve- December 24, 1968- Apollo 8 on their voyage to the moon had a memorable day. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and began mankind’s first lunar orbit. The astronauts circled the moon ten times on this day- it took about 2 hours to make one trip. They took many photos of the moon for potential landing sites for a manned mission to the moon and also made a couple television transmissions to earth. On the second television transmission back to the planet Earth- at 9:34 PM EST- was the most watched television broadcast ever at the time. The three astronauts took turns reading from the book of Genesis as they orbited the moon.
- William Anders
- 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
- James 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 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.