Image: Courtesy of NASA
Fifty years ago this Christmas the world watched in a mixture of excitement and wonder as the three-man crew of Apollo 8 – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders – blasted off for a trip to the Moon and back, the first humans to leave Earth behind, fly around the Moon and return safely home. The six-day mission began on 21st December 1968 and included a day orbiting the Moon, when the astronauts took the now famous "Earthrise" picture — one of the most celebrated photographs ever taken of our planet. Circling the Moon on Christmas Eve, the crew shared their thoughts in a public broadcast. The crew also read a passage from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. The return trip home was uneventful, the capsule splashing down successfully in the Pacific Ocean on 27th December. The success of Apollo 8 showed that it was possible to take astronauts safely to the Moon and bring them home; the next major task would be learning how to land on the lunar surface.
Come to the Planetarium this Christmas to relive the great excitement and drama of the historic flight of Apollo 8 fifty years ago, with enhanced film footage and still images from the time.