Earthrise: Anniversary of an Iconic Image

December 24, 2015

47th anniversary of Apollo 8 astronauts snapping an iconic picture in human history – earthrise over the dead surface of the moon.  Video above records the astronauts being ambushed by the unexpected moment, and scrambling to grab the shot.


A few years ago, on the 45th anniversary of this photo, NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio released the video below. It’s a visualization of the events leading up to the photo’s capture. The video gives you a front row seat on the view seen by lunar astronauts in the Apollo 8 mission, as, during a roll maneuver of their craft, they peered from a window and noticed Earth ascending over the lunar horizon.

You are there, as they capture one of the iconic photos of the 20th century – Earth rising over the moon.

The picture has had a profound impact on human consciousness in the succeeding years. By all means click for a larger image.



10 Responses to “Earthrise: Anniversary of an Iconic Image”

  1. freggersjr Says:

    People have complained about the cost of space missions; I am not one of them.

    Sometimes expensive projects that consume large amounts of energy are worthwhile. People have always been interested in the stars and planets; it is the nature of people to be curious. But more than that, developing space technology has provided actual benefits. Without space technology, GPS systems would not exist. Communication satellites would not exist. Satellites to monitor energy balance and seismic activity would not exist. Weather satellites, which improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, would not exist. This fallout from space technology has been of great benefit and it is likely that there will be more benefits which we cannot predict.

    • Another thing. The space program accelerated the development of computer chips because space crafts needed computers and they had to be small. So chalk up practically all of your electronic gear to the space program.

      Then there’s the fallout from “space medicine”. All of the electronic gear you see in hospitals resulted from that program.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      Space travel is just a big gov’t program. Proving, once and for all, that big gov’t programs can be helpful to Science, employment, the economy, and the future.

  2. redskylite Says:

    Many thanks for sharing that iconic photo Peter, and wishing you and yours a very happy Christmas. I feel privileged to have witnessed those early exciting days of space exploration, growing up in Europe’s peacetime, after WWII. I also grew up and worked with mainframes, full of ferrite core, clumsy & large spinning disks and miles of paper tape, loaded with Hollerith code. Now look at how that computer equipment and technology has evolved. Truly astonishing. Now I get an even better privilege, that is to see technology maturing in the field of energy. Compared to my Grandfather (WW1 fighter) and father (WW2 fighter), I have had a great life. Just hope to see mankind finally finish with fossil fuels and for my son and successors to have an even better life the me.

    Yes it’s happening everywhere, even in Canada now their anti science, fossil fuel crazed pm has gone. .

    Cheers to the new technologies . .. .

    “In addition to leveraging the battery’s storage capability, the IESO intends to use data from this energy storage project to analyze how storage can be used to smooth the power flow from wind and solar, defer expensive system upgrades, and ultimately shape the future of its grid.”

    and they will, just wait and see

    • freggersjr Says:

      Battery storage could also be used to make fossil fueled and nuclear power plants more efficient by smoothing out demand. When power plants have to follow the load their efficiency is reduced.

      Whether or when battery technology adequate for grid usage at an acceptable price will become available remains to be seen. It is best not to depend on something until it is clear that it will actually be available.

  3. bjc70 Says:

    You’re a couple of years out are you not ?

    Apollo 8
    Apollo 8, the second human spaceflight mission in the United States Apollo space program, was launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth orbit, reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and return safely to …

    Mission start: 21 Dec 1968
    Mission end: 27 Dec 1968
    Space program: Apollo program
    Astronauts: James Lovell · Frank Borman · William Anders

  4. toby52 Says:

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing. I was 17 years old.

    Those are the same astronauts who read from the Book of Genesis on Christmas. You could almost show that, too. Not that I am religious, but the combination of the spiritual (from one of Earth’s great books, no matter if you are an atheist) and the scientific was irresistibly emotional. It brought to mind a time when man did not understand much about the Moon and the planets. Now we were exploring them. A giant leap.

    I have to admit, Apollo 8 with those two emotional punches means as much to me as the Moon Landing itself.

  5. redskylite Says:

    It is also very satisfying to me to see that the IT industries are also at the fore-front of the climate change battle industry. Coal and fossils may served us well in the past, but it is time to let go and look after our planet . . . . . . . . .

    “Global businesses operating in the information technology (IT) sector are twice as likely as other firms to engage in proactive climate action.”

  6. freggersjr Says:


    Advancement of technology and the industrial revolution probably could not have occurred without the use of fossil fuels even though they have always been exceedingly damaging. One can read about conditions in the coal mines of Victorian England; it was unbelievably horrible. It may not have been better here in the U.S. either. Young children were forced to become chimney sweeps and had to climb through dirty chimneys to clean them; as a result, they suffered serious health consequences. The air in some cities was horrible from burning coal. The steel mills were especially bad from the pollution standpoint. Until the late 1960s, new fallen snow was black within one week; that is no longer true.

    It is past time to phase out fossil fuels for multiple reasons, but until recent decades doing so would have been impossible.

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