June 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Death of William A. Anders, 90; He flew in the first manned orbit of the Moon

Death of William A.  Anders, 90;  He flew in the first manned orbit of the Moon

On Christmas Eve, during their ten orbits around the moon, the three astronauts, whose movements were broadcast on television to millions around the world, took pictures of the Earth as it rose above the lunar horizon, appearing like blue marble amid the blackness of the sky. But only Major Anders, who oversaw the spacecraft’s electronic and communications systems, shot color film.

His image shook the world. Known as “Earthrise,” this photo was reproduced on a 1969 postage stamp bearing the words “In the Beginning God…” It was the inspiration for the first Earth Day in 1970, and appeared on the cover of Life magazine’s 2003 book “100 Photographs “. “He changed the world.”

Just moments before Major Anders began to fly away, the astronauts could be heard, as captured by the camera lens Registered on boardExpressing their astonishment at what they saw:

Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there. Here comes the Earth. Wow, this is beautiful.

Bormann: [chuckle] Hey, don’t take this, it’s not scheduled.

Anders: [laughter] Did you get color film, Jim? Give me that roll of colors quick, will you? …

Lovell: Oh man, this is great.

Decades later, in a 2015 interview with Forbes magazine“The view speaks to the beauty and fragility of the Earth,” Major Anders said of Earthrise. “It helped launch the environmental movement.”

But he said he was surprised by how faded the public’s memory of the characters behind that photo was. “It is strange to me that the press and people on Earth have kind of forgotten about our historic journey, and what symbolizes the journey now is the image of ‘Earthrise,’” he said. “Here we are on the moon to discover Earth.”

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At the conclusion of their Christmas Eve television broadcast, the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the first passage in the Book of Genesis.