Solving Space: Earthrise

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This fall, we are exploring how space inspires progress. Solve space today by unscrambling the iconic Apollo 8 “Earthrise” image. This photograph was the first shot of the Earth from the Moon captured by the first men to travel there.

On Christmas Eve 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 (NASA astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman) witnessed a spectacular sight never before seen by any other astronauts.

During their fourth lunar orbit, Anders captured the “Earthrise” photograph of the Earth rising above the Moon’s horizon. It was a first in human spaceflight history, and a Christmas Eve treat for the crew who spent the holidays 240,000 miles from home.

Images of the Earth taken from the Moon and photos of the lunar surface were shared with the world later that evening during the astronaut’s live Christmas Eve broadcast. “Earthrise” became a major highlight of the Apollo 8 mission. Never before had humans seen the Earth from such a perspective.

Across the years, this picture has remained among NASA’s most famous images. The U.S. Postal Service even featured “Earthrise” on the Apollo 8 commemorative stamp, which was issued in the summer of 1969.

Though the photograph was taken over half a century ago, its significance has not waned. The timeless Earthrise image serves as a reminder of how fragile our home is, and serves to inspire the next generation of deep space explorers to return to the Moon and go beyond.

Take a look at this commemorative video shared by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, which allows viewers to relive the historic moment the Earth was first viewed from above the lunar surface by the crew of Apollo 8.


Click here to read more about the Apollo 8 mission.

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