Thursday, December 24th 2020, 9:16 am - On December 24, 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 spoke to the world while exploring a new one.
There might have been a different buzz in the air during the 1968 holiday season. Tensions were high amid the Vietnam War and Cold War, and civil and human rights issues were blazing. But on that Christmas Eve, millions stopped in their tracks to watch the Apollo 8 crew became the first humans to orbit another world.
James A. Lovell, Jr., William A. Anders, and Frank Borman were told that they would be allowed to speak to listeners on December 24. NASA let the crew decide what to say, with the only caveat that it had to be something appropriate.
Apollo 8 crewmembers, left to right: James A. Lovell, Jr., William A. Anders, and Frank Borman. Courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The crew decided to take turns reciting verses from Genesis as they were orbiting the moon.
Even though it was Christmas Eve, the astronauts didn't want to alienate those who don't celebrate the holiday. Lovell explained that "The first 10 verses of Genesis is the foundation of many of the world's religions, not just the Christian religion."
This mission is also known for the epic photo dubbed "Earth Rise." It was Anders who took this photo. He said that though he was on a mission to discover the moon, he ended up discovered Earth.
Earthrise photograph by William A. Anders. Courtesy of National Archives, Records of the U.S. Information Agency
The Apollo 8 mission was a part of President John F. Kennedy's plan to get men to land on the moon by the end of the decade. To learn more about this epic time in history and how the quote "Roger, please be informed there is a Santa Claus" originated, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."
This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by The Weather Network that features unique and informative stories from host Chris Mei.
Thumbnail courtesy of NASA