Saturday, December 24, 2011

Apollo 8 Christmas Message

An out of this world broadcast.

From Neatorama...
The men of Apollo 8 were slated to become the first humans ever to leave the Earth’s orbit, enter lunar orbit, and see the far side of the Moon. But as their launch date approached in December 1968, NASA added an even more terrifying task to the crew’s to-do list: public speaking. The agency wanted the astronauts to host a live broadcast from the spacecraft on Christmas Eve. Worse still, the men were given only one cryptic instruction: “Say something appropriate.”

The astronauts were in a tough spot. When millions of people of different faiths and backgrounds are listening, what exactly constitutes appropriate? To make matters trickier, 1968 had been a grim year for Americans -the Vietnam War was raging, and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. had both been assassinated. How could the astronauts simultaneously orbit the Moon, introduce millions to outer space on TV, and buoy the American spirit?...

...She made an elegant, simple suggestion: Why not just read from the book of Genesis?
The astronauts jumped at the idea. They reasoned that genesis had a broad enough appeal across religions to add a hint of spirituality without ostracizing non-Christians.

The broadcast began with the crew showing some of the first images of Earth ever seen from space...

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