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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

‘The good Earth’

It’s the 50th anniversary of perhaps the most remarkable photograph ever taken, Earthrise. Stephen Hackett and I covered Apollo 8 in detail on Liftoff earlier this month, and photographer Bill Anders has just written about it at Space.com. You can also see a pretty great short film about it.

In what was at that time the biggest television broadcast in terms of audience ever, the crew described the moon as they orbited it, and then ended the broadcast with a reading from Genesis and, finally, with this:

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.

The crew fired their engine to leave lunar orbit and return to Earth on Christmas Day from behind the moon, out of radio contact with the rest of humanity. When they finally saw the Earth again, Jim Lovell broke radio silence to declare, “Please be informed there is a Santa Claus.”

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