Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the beginning

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Forty years ago, on Dec. 21, 1968, Apollo 8 lifted from its Florida launch pad for a three-day journey to the moon, the first time humans traveled to and from another world. Once in lunar orbit, astronauts Frank Bormann, James Lovell, and William Anders circled 10 times in 20 hours.

During their ninth orbit, on Christmas Eve in the United States, the men delivered a television broadcast showing the lunar surface below them while reading the first 10 verses from the Bible's book of Genesis. It has been estimated that a fourth of all the people alive at the time saw the broadcast.


Apollo 8 returned to Earth on Dec. 27. Time magazine named the three astronauts Men of the Year for 1968. Their command module is displayed at Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry. Seven months later, July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon for the first time, touching down on the Sea of Tranquility.

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