Despite the initial impact of seeing this remote view of our home, 50 years later, it would seem that our planet - or at least the relatively comfortable existence human civilization has carved out on it - is still in great jeopardy.
For the first two decades, it was believed that it was Borman who had taken the photograph, an account that was validated based on a number of evidences that were available. In a recent interview, Bill Anders, an astronaut from the Apollo 8 mission, called the idea of sending manned missions to Mars "almost ridiculous" and said that he doesn't understand why people are so gung-ho about it.
Anders knew he got it ("Aw, that's a attractive shot!") and said he took it at 1/250th of a second at f/11.
'The striking image in "Earthrise" - of a lovely planet, all by itself (aside from a barren moonscape) - conveyed a clear message that we must all come together to save it.
After all, they weren't just going to the moon; they were going to orbit it ten times. I had no photographic background to speak of and had a very heavy schedule of taking pictures of the lunar surface [for] potential [moon] landing sites. For me personally, as someone who isn't of any Christian faith but loves history, I look at it as an historical event, plain and simple, that's worth remembering because it was the first time people went to the Moon.
"Over 3 billion people, mountains, oceans, deserts, everything I ever knew was behind my thumb", he recalled at a recent anniversary celebration at Washington's National Cathedral.
I don't know who said it, maybe all of us said, 'Oh my God. I arranged to meet him at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
ANDERS: Oh, my God. "Look at that picture over there!" Look at that!' and up came the Earth. Wow is that pretty! .
ANDERS: [Laughs] You got a color film, Jim?
Apollo 8: Around The Moon and Back
Even though it would fly farther than any manned spaceship ever had and produce a photograph of the Earth from the perspective of the moon that's widely credited with launching the environmental movement, Borman said he had one overriding goal on the trip.
Located among the gum trees and kangaroos just outside Canberra, Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station listened for the crucial acquisition of signal as the spacecraft emerged from behind the Moon on its final orbit, having fired its engine to return to Earth. You didn't see continents even, it was just this swirl of blue and white. The picture Anders took in those fleeting moments became one of the most influential ones in history, credited both with helping to kick-start the environmental movement and with ending the exceedingly bloody year that was 1968 on a note of redemption. The window was actually quite small, the orientation had to be just ideal to see it, the reality is that it could have easily been missed.
Borman ended the broadcast with, "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".
SEVIGNY: So what did you see in the photograph? "We can see all the way down to Cape Horn in South America".
SHEEHAN: I still have the magazine where I first saw that image.
The moon missions might be the only time a human will ever step foot on ground outside Earth if it were up to one former astronaut. But after that people sort of lost interest. For all of us: a moment, at least, when we are all one.
LOVELL: As matter of fact, when we heard that we're changing our mission from Earth (unintelligible) to go to the moon, Frank was very happy.
"I don't think the public is that interested", he added.
SEVIGNY: Bill Sheehan, thank you so much for joining me today.
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