On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first humans to orbit the moon. The Apollo 8 astronauts, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman recited some verses from the Book of Genesis and wished the inhabitants of Earth a Merry Christmas.
Anders photographed Earth from the lunar orbit, capturing our planet in a way it had never been seen before— the iconic “Earthrise” image, which shows Earth rising above the Moon’s horizon, a lone planet enveloped in darkness. This profound image has been credited with propelling the environmental movement; exhibiting our planet’s beauty and emphasising its fragility.
On Christmas morning, Lovell verified some very important information: “Please be informed: there is a Santa Claus”. To which NASA mission control replied: “That’s affirmative. You’re the best ones to know.”
Photo credit: NASA