William A. Anders, 90, death; The first human orbiter of the Moon

On Christmas Eve, during 10 orbits of the moon, the three astronauts broadcast to millions around the world photographs of Earth rising above the lunar horizon, appearing like a blue marble amid the blackness of the sky. But only Major Anders, who oversaw their spacecraft’s electronic and communications systems, shot color film.

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

Moments before Major Anders began to drift away, the astronauts could hear the capture. Internal RegistrarThey express their awe at what they saw:

Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture there. Here comes the earth. Wow, that’s beautiful.

Borman: [chuckle] Hey, don’t take it, it’s not planned.

Anders: [laughter] Have you got a color picture, Jim? Give me that color roll quickly. …

Lovell: Oh man, that’s great.

In an interview in 2015, decades later Forbes magazine, General Anders said of Earthrise: “The scene points to the beauty of Earth and its fragility. It helped launch the environmental movement.

But he said he was surprised by how much the public’s memory of the figures behind the photo had faded. “I find it interesting that the press and the public have forgotten our history-making journey, and now the symbol of flight is the film ‘Earthrise,'” he said. “Here we come to the moon to find Earth.”

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Concluding their Christmas Eve broadcast, the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the first chapter of the book of Genesis.

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