Race to the Moon |
Earth from the Moon
"We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth." — astronaut Bill Anders.
At one point in Apollo 8's lunar orbit, the Earth came into view over the moon's horizon. The crew reacted with astonishment to the beautiful sight, snapping photographs and expressing their excitement.
These images would become some of the century's most famous, inspiring people worldwide to consider Earth's place in the cosmos.
Seen from 240,000 miles away, the Earth was a "grand oasis in the big vastness of space," according to astronaut Jim Lovell. His crewmate Bill Anders would comment, "How finite the Earth looks... there's no frame around it. It's hanging there, the only color in the black vastness of space, like a dust mote in infinity."
"To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful, in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold -- brothers who know now they are truly brothers."— Archibald MacLeish, writer, in
The New York Times Credit: NASA
"That blue disk out there in space, floating alone in the darkness, the utter black of space, and the brilliance of those colors... it reflected the brilliance of life itself on our planet and brought to mind all of the wonders of our life here, and also said to us, how is it possible for humans to live on this incredible island, and live in enmity instead of an understanding of the brotherhood of all of us there, alone together in the universe? It was a powerful moment." — Walter Cronkite, news anchorman,
CBS Evening News Credit: NASA
"[The flight] has added a new dimension to our appreciation that this is indeed one world." — Harold Wilson, British prime minister
"The legendary cow of the nursery rhyme never did make it, but these three men actually did jump over the moon." — U Thant, Secretary General, United Nations
"One of the historic moments in the development of the human race." — Sir Bernard Lovell, prominent British astronomer, who had publicly expressed concerns about the viability of the Apollo 8 mission.
"A symbol of man's genius and his aspirations for peaceful international competition in space..." — The Italian National Tourist Board, in a cable issued to the astronauts inviting them to take a free holiday in Italy.
"How can we forget that while we sit quietly, studying the horoscopes of the past and future, a feat that surpasses every ordinary limit of fantasy and human activity is being carried out in the cosmic space with the fabulous trip of three astronauts flying toward the moon?" — Pope Paul VI
"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you now, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." — astronomer Carl Sagan,
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space(1994) Credit: NASA