Here’s the iconic photo Anders captured at 250mm, 1/250s, and f/11: Thanks to audio recordings, photo mosaics, and elevation data from the orbiter, NASA was able to reconstruct the story behind this famous photo for the visualization video above.When Apollo 8 astronauts Bill Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell rounded the farside of the Moon, they became the first humans to witness an Earthrise above an alien surface.By 1968, the Apollo program had settled on a plan for reaching the Moon before the end of the decade.After years of back and forth planning, NASA settled on using a giant Saturn V booster bigger than the Statue of Liberty that would launch into orbit carrying two spacecraft.“Earthrise” is an iconic photo of Earth rising up from the Moon’s horizon that’s considered one of the most important environmental photos ever made. Anders, using a Hasselblad 500 EL equipped with a 250mm lens and custom 70mm Kodak Ektachrome film, first captured a black-and-white photo of the Earthrise. By the time he got it, the Earthrise had passed out of view from the window Anders had been looking through. Anders: Wait a minute, just let me get the right setting here now, just calm down. Lovell: Well, I got it right – aw, that’s a beautiful shot…Two-fifty at f/11. “It has not been widely known, for example, that the spacecraft was rolling when the photos were taken, and that it was this roll that brought the Earth into view,” NASA writes.Here’s a fascinating 3-minute visualization by NASA that recreates how the photo was shot in real-time. (joking) Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim? But then Lovell spotted the Earth through a different window. Lovell: Hey, I got it right here [in the hatch window]. When Apollo 8 lifted off from what was then called Cape Kennedy on December 21, 1968, the world was in turmoil.The Cold War was still very much a reality as the West and East fought to determine if the world would be dominated by free-market democracy or totalitarian socialism.
Born in the depths of the Cold War and launched at a time of national turmoil, Apollo 8 was more than a great scientific and engineering feat.
Here’s how the conversation unfolded: Anders: Oh my God!
The orbiter was shooting photos of the lunar surface every 20 seconds, allowing NASA to precisely figure out the orbiter’s orientation at every moment.
There was only one problem with this neat timetable.
By the time Apollo 8 was on the launch pad, the LEM wouldn't be ready to fly.