On December 24th, 1968, Apollo 8 made its final pass around the moon and the crew, in turn, sent home this message:
“We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'”
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
December 27, 1968: On this day in 1968, Apollo 8 returned to Earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean after a six-day mission. Prior to launch, crewmembers Frank Borman, James Lovell and Bill Anders trained for only four months instead of the typical year. Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to orbit the moon and was able to complete ten lunar orbits.
This week, forty-five years after Apollo 8’s live Christmas Eve broadcast, former astronaut and retired Captain James Lovell Jr. re-enacted the reading of Bible verses from Genesis at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Get the story from PBS NewsHour.