On December 24, 1968 – exactly 50 years ago – astronauts Apollo 8, Frank Burman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders became the first humans to orbit the moon.
The task was historic. But do not forget also the famous "Earthrise" image that resulted from it, which shows Earth rise above the moon.
Until then, I had never seen the human eyes of our blue marble from afar.
"In 100 photographs that changed the world," renowned photographer Galen Roel described the unprecedented view of the Earth as "the most influential environmental picture of all."
The image of our planet, which seems small and weak in the dark of space, has made people more aware of its fragility.
Read more: Astronauts explain why no one has visited the moon in more than 45 years
Earthrise is now one of the most widely reproduced space images ever seen on American postcards, posters, and Time Magazine's cover in 1969. Many have pointed to the irony of the picture, where Apollo 8 was sent to study and take pictures of the moon's surface – not Earth.
"Of all the targets set by NASA before the launch, no one thought of photographing the Earth from the orbit of the moon," wrote Robert Zimmerman in his book "Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8: The First Manned Flight to Another World."
The famous photograph was taken during the mission's fourth mission around the moon, and then the spacecraft changed its orbit, making it possible to see the earth above the lunar horizon.
No astronauts were set up for that moment, including Lunar Unit pilot Anders, who was responsible for photography.
In an interview for a BBC documentary, Anders described the sequence of events as:
I do not know who said that, maybe we all said, "My God, look at this, the earth came in. We had no discussion on the ground, no briefing, no instructions on what to do." I joked, "Well, The other two guys were shouting to me to give them cameras, I had only a color camera with a long lens, so I cleaned up black and white to Bormann, I can not remember what Louvelle had.
Initially, Bormann and Anders announced responsibility for the image now known. Later, a textual inquiry revealed that Burman, who was the first to realize the importance of the moment, took a black and white photograph before Anders picked up the brilliant color picture.
Fred Burger, a senior lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, says in his article "The Elusive Apollo 8 Earthrise Photo" that both Burman and Louviel played a crucial role in urging Anders, who had the only color camera, to take the picture.
"The experienced astronaut Frank Burman was the first to highlight the image, while the experienced astronaut James Lovell was quick to follow," Spier wrote. "The astronaut, William Anders, was responsible for taking photographs, and by doing so, Anders had to follow a narrow and well-defined picture plan, where there was little or no space to take unplanned images."
Although Anders now offered some resistance, the other quickly did it.Although it now seems far from the doubt that Anders has cut the famous picture in fact, it also seems fair that the picture appears as a result of combining the efforts of all three astronauts " .