On December 21, 1968, NASA’s Apollo 8 was launched. Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to see earth from space, the first humans to travel beyond low earth orbit and the first to see the far side of the moon. It took them 3 days to travel to the moon. They orbited 10 times in 20 hours. During that orbit they also became the first humans to speak of the Creation from space, and the first humans to see that which the Creator had seen when he called the work which he had made, GOOD. I have often thought about this and the wonder they must have experienced as they beheld the beautiful planet earth from their craft.
On Christmas Eve, in what was the most watched television broadcast of the time, the three-man crew of Apollo 8 took turns reading from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon.
Here is the transcript of that broadcast.
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 heavens 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.
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.
And God said, Let the waters under the heavens 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 He called 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.
For the transcript, see the article published on Nasa’s site.
Williams, D. R. (2007). Apollo 8 Christmas Eve broadcast. Retrieved from http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo8_xmas.html