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Apollo 8 Astronaut Re-Creates 1968 Christmas Broadcast To Earth 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-small-station-break-for-man dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "AP reports that standing by a part of the Apollo 8 spacecraft he once rode, retired astronaut James Lovell read the 1968 Christmastime broadcast from the day he and two others became the first humans to orbit the moon marking the 45th anniversary of the orbit and the famous broadcast. 'The idea of bringing people together by a flight to the moon where we encompassed everybody in our thoughts is still very valid today,' says Lovell. 'The words that we read are very appropriate.' Millions tuned in on Dec. 24, 1968, when Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Lovell circled the moon. A television camera on board took footage of the crater-filled surface as the astronauts read Bible verses describing the creation of Earth. They circled 10 times and began reading from the Book of Genesis on the last orbit. 'It's a foundation of Christianity, Judaism and Islam,' Lovell said of choosing Genesis. 'It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ... They all had that basis of the Old Testament.' Lovell says at the time the astronauts weren't sure who would be listening and how the broadcast would be taken. The famous "Earthrise" photo was also taken during the mission. Lovell closed with the same message the astronauts did in 1968. '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.'"
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Apollo 8 Astronaut Re-Creates 1968 Christmas Broadcast To Earth

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  • It's become really foggy in my mind. Anybody can remind me which state it was they played the movie inside of?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Yeah, it was a long time ago. I didn't even remember it until slashdot jogged my memory.

      I'd get these pesky kids off your lawn but they keep handing me beers and hitters... damn, it's 1968 again! Are we still at war?

      • Are we still at war?

        Yep. After the landing the following year, not much happened, except TV sets don't weigh so much anymore..

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          TV sets didn't start weighing less until this century, my 2002 weighs 215 lbs. And have you forgotten that there were few TV remotes (they were ultrasound back then and only on the most expensive TVs), no PCs, no internet, no cell phones, and my favorite technological advancement, the miraculous CrystaLens.

          I guess you also forgot the Voyagers, telescopes in space, probes to other planets, rovers on Mars... don't forget, NASA isn't about adventure, it's about science and technology.

    • by plopez (54068)

      Area 52

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:23PM (#45784903)

    The book of Genesis is certainly not the foundation of most of the world's religions. There are hundreds of religions with more than a million followers each. In demographic terms it may be closer, with followers of Abrahamic religions making up close to half of the world population. However there are billions adhering to other faiths, especially Hinduism and Buddhism.

    • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @11:33PM (#45785507)

      ... followers of Abrahamic religions making up close to half of the world population

      More than half actually.

      The Global Religious Landscape [pewforum.org]

      The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010. In addition, more than 400 million people (6%) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than 1% of the global population – belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.1

      At the same time, the new study by the Pew Forum also finds that roughly one-in-six people around the globe (1.1 billion, or 16%) have no religious affiliation. This makes the unaffiliated the third-largest religious group worldwide, behind Christians and Muslims, and about equal in size to the world’s Catholic population. Surveys indicate that many of the unaffiliated hold some religious or spiritual beliefs (such as belief in God or a universal spirit) even though they do not identify with a particular faith.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Censuses, surveys and population registers are all hopeless ways of determining people's religion. In many countries they don't ask about religion on such things, and when they do it tends to get conflated with race and heritage rather than an individuals's actually belief. Many people claim their young children share their religion when they are too young to even understand it, and even adults often feel pressured to say they are one thing to avoid upsetting their families. It's almost like finding it hard

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          ln Europe church attendance is an order of magnitude lower than the number of people claiming to be Christian.

          Church doesn't make you a Christian, accepting Jesus as your savior makes you a Christian. I haven't been to church since Easter, but that doesn't mean I'm not reading my bible [mcgrewbooks.com] or that I don't accept Jesus.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The book of Genesis is certainly not the foundation of most of the world's religions.

      Wrong, skippy. A third of the world's population is Christian, a third is Muslim. Two thirds of the world's religious people read Genesis.

      AND, the Buddhist Thais have a "garden of Eden" story that is very similar to the version of the Abrahamic religions. In their story, people were happy and loving and sharing, and then the evil Cats taught people to talk and they've been arguing and fighting ever since.

      Note that in the Ab

  • Christmas (Score:1, Troll)

    by BringsApples (3418089)
    As divided as we all seem to be these days, Christmas still seems to be a time when we each can remove these mental boundaries and see humanity for what it is, regardless of our religious (or lack thereof) preferences.

    In nature, when it's summer time, and food is plenty, generally wild animals fight for food, fight for mates, and fight for whatever else they see fit to fight over. But when it's cold, food is scarce and everything seems to be fighting to live, even some wild animals share what is availab
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Merry Christmas everyone. I hope it was/is filled with the things that you love most.

      See my sig*. Oh, and we're offtopic...

      *May not be valid after Christmas

    • by waimate (147056)

      But when it's cold, food is scarce and everything seems to be fighting to live, even some wild animals share what is available. Merry Christmas everyone.

      Well, I've looked out the window, and it's none of those things. The sun is shining, it's hot, the grass is green and I think I might go for a swim. Oh, and by the way, it's also tomorrow.

      You hemispherist, you.

      • You and others (heh, I'm marked troll for wishing everyone a merry christmas) misunderstood my point. I never said 'christmas = cold'.

        Christmas is a celebration (for either hemisphere as far as I know) of winter solstice (the shortest day of the year). Some people will argue that it's about Jesus' birthday, but, to me, that's silly (What does a christmas tree, santa clause, trading presents, and a bunch of food have to do with Jesus?) The reason, as far as I know, is because it's cold, crops are dead,
        • by waimate (147056)

          I'm not sure what you're saying. I think you're saying christmas is a shortest day celebration, and that therefore in the southern hemisphere christmas should be observed in June. I think you're saying the southern hemisphere is doing the right thing on the wrong date.

          If you never said 'christmas == cold' (two equal signs, note), you certainly did say 'christmas == shortest day', and by virtue of physics 'shortest day == cold'.

          Seasons are local effects, but many inwardly-focussed societies don't grasp that.

          • I'm not sure what you're saying. I think you're saying christmas is a shortest day celebration, and that therefore in the southern hemisphere christmas should be observed in June. I think you're saying the southern hemisphere is doing the right thing on the wrong date.

            What I'm saying is that Christmas, as celebrated, came to be so because of how cold it is, and how many plants, that during the summer months bear fruit, do not bear fruit, food can be scarce, and life generally gets harder. So people came to take the evergreen trees, decorate them, share gifts, share food, all in the name of 'things will be okay soon, as this is the shortest day of the year, so now things will generally begin to warm back up'. Where you are in the world does make this winter-solstice-exp

            • by waimate (147056)

              What about 'shortest day' is it that trips you up?

              It's that when the advert says "Jaws 12, coming to a theatre near you not far from the longest day of the year", I have no idea when to don my Jaws 11 T-shirt and head down to the multiplex.

              Anyway, happy Generic Solstice to you !

    • As divided as we all seem to be these days, Christmas still seems to be a time when we each can remove these mental boundaries and see humanity for what it is, regardless of our religious (or lack thereof) preferences.

      ...a creature able to turn everything and anything supposedly "holy" into a cash cow?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In nature, when it's summer time, and food is plenty, generally wild animals fight for food, fight for mates, and fight for whatever else they see fit to fight over. But when it's cold, food is scarce and everything seems to be fighting to live, even some wild animals share what is available.

      What? Are you totally retarded?
      When there is plenty for all, and life is easy, wild animals avoid fighting whenever possible - because there is no advantage to be gained, and everything to be lost. But when times are ha

      • Wrong, that's a human trait. Go out in the woods during the winter, see how deer behave. Then go watch during the summer. Then, go back the next winter again. Maybe look up "deer yard", see what that's about. Yeah, they'll fight a little bit over the last piece of food, but it's nothing like it is in summer.

        If you're to much of a pussy to get out in the woods during the cold winter, then simply toss out some bread into your yard, watch how the birds behave. Then, do that same thing in the summer, w
  • by Anonymous Coward

    China went to the moon. Now go dig out some of the cool stuff NASA did before we started funding useless wars for no gain instead.

    We can't look like we're second to china...

    Remind everyone what cool stuff we used to do.

    Oh. By the way. You can't spend any money to do it.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm sure the American citizens who are homeless and hungry on this Christmas night really give a flying fuck about nationalistic ego-stroking. We've fallen. Deal with it. We sure as shit shouldn't borrow billions of dollars from the Chinese to try to one-up the Chinese in a pointless pissing match.
    • Yeah, like back before some oil guy handed the NSA NASA's budget for the oil wa.. err ah.. war on terrorism. Yeah, like back when we still had a space program.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        If I remember correctly, the president you are refering to had a plan for NASA to bring us back to the moon before 2020, and the new president scrapped that plan.... so maybe we should get our facts right before we blame a president who deserves alot of blame, blame him on something he actually tried to do right
    • Now go dig out some of the cool stuff NASA did before we started funding useless wars for no gain instead.

      You do realize that the US Apollo missions to the moon occurred concurrently with the US involvement with the Vietnam war, when military spending took twice the relative bite out of the economy as it does today? Maybe not.

      You should also be clear about how the spending of Federal tax dollars has changed over the years [heritage.org]. (Don't like the source? Find another one, it won't really change if the numbers are honest*.)

      * Honest Federal spending will include both "mandatory" and "discretionary" spending. Some site

      • Some sites mislead by excluding mandatory spending to distort the burden of social welfare spending versus defense spending.

        And some sites mislead by including the stand-alone SS Trust Fund as if it were a regular budget item.

        • It doesn't really matter.

          MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY- Part 2 [ssa.gov]

          Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the "unified budget." This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are "on-budget." This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken "off-budget." This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are "on-budget" or "off-budget" is primarily a question of accounting practices--it has no effect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.

          RL33028: Social Security: The Trust Fund [fas.org]

          • The expanded Trust Fund was intended to pay for the "population bubble" of the retiring baby boomers. That means it gained value for decades (something like $3 trillion), until the number of retiring boomers outweighs the current workers paying in, then it is intended to decline until the boomers die out. In accounting terms, it's an accumulating asset, but it's also a future liability (and it's a revenue item and an expense). Then the Trust invests in US Treasuries, so it's both an investment asset, and a

      • by meglon (1001833)
        Lets get more to the point:

        Section 8:

        The Congress shall have Power To....

        To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions

        When exactly was the last insurrection or invasion?

        Further, it's immaterial what our GDP is, the only reason to compare spending as a percentage of GDP is to hide how significant the percentage of spending your number is. For 2012 DoD's budget was $651B, Veteran's Affairs $124B, and another $47B on DHS... for a rousing direct cost of $822B (22.2% of all spending); NASA's budget was $18B (.49%). Add in non-direct defense spending, and estimates go up to the $1.2-$1.4T range (

        • After declaring war [pbs.org] on the United States in 1996, the international terrorist organization known as Al Qaida, which comprised elements of the armed forces and government of Afghanistan, conducted an attack on the United States of comparable magnitude to the attack by the Empire of Japan on Perl Harbor in 1941 in terms of loss of life and economic damage on 11 September 2001 [telegraph.co.uk]. They attacked targets in both New York City and Washington DC, having attacked American embassies and military forces previously, and

  • 'It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ... They all had that basis of the Old Testament.'

    I know you can’t be a dumbass and make the astronaut corps, so I’m a little confused as to how he could be saying something so stupid. The Old Testament is the foundation of exactly three of the world’s major religions (and that’s counting Judaism as arguably major.) It’s irrelevant to half the world’s population.

    • Re:Religions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beeftopia (1846720) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:43PM (#45784995)

      Pew Research report: "The Global Religious Landscape" [pewforum.org], with global numerical breakdowns.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      'It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ... They all had that basis of the Old Testament.'

      I know you can’t be a dumbass and make the astronaut corps, so I’m a little confused as to how he could be saying something so stupid. The Old Testament is the foundation of exactly three of the world’s major religions (and that’s counting Judaism as arguably major.) It’s irrelevant to half the world’s population.

      54% is still more than half. http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Wrong. A third are Christian, a third are Muslim, half of the rest are other religions such as Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. You atheists and antitheists only make up 10% of everyone (the rest are agnostic).

      • by _Ludwig (86077)

        We atheists and antitheists know that 54% != 2/3.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Apparently you fellows aren't very good at math. 54% is far less than 66%, and where did you get that 54% from, Richard Dawkins? I've looked up the statistics in a lot of places and atheists are fewer than 15% of the world's population.

          • by _Ludwig (86077)

            The Pew source is linked upthread; Wikipedia and adherents.com [adherents.com] say pretty much the same. 54 is (roughly) the percentage of the world’s population that claims adherence to an Abrahamic religion. You’re the one who pulled the 2/3rds figure from somewhere.

            Even if the OT were irrelevant to only 1/3rd of the world, is that supposed to be significantly better? And you appear to have a wild hair about atheism, but I wasn’t complaining that he used a religious text, rather calling out his ignorant

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              Hmm, it seems there are fewer Muslims than whatever I read said. You appear to be correct.

          • by _Ludwig (86077)

            Oh, and != means “not equal to.”

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Sorry, you are wrong. The problem is that no accurate statistics exist and it is difficult to even ask people. For example "Jew" is both a race and religious identify. Most parents will state that their children share their religion on census forms even if they are too young to understand it or simply don't believe.

        For example in the UK something like 65% of people put Christian on their census forms (or more likely had it put for them by the head of the household). Even so church attendance is about 5%, so

        • Religion in the UK is usually a much more private matter than in the US. Most of our believers do not feel the need to proclaim it from the rooftops as is a common practice in the US.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            It is for most Americans as well. It's only a tiny vocal minority rying to shove it down peoples' throats.

    • Selective dumbassness. Just because someone is part of the world's elite in on field, doesn't mean they can't be ignorant upon a completly unrelated topic.

  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @09:56PM (#45785053)
    Did they orbit the Moon again?
    • He was at the Armstrong Centre, Kennedy City, here at Tranquillity.

      Lovell was visiting to help open the new "giant baseline" optical array, at the Lovell Dark-Sky Park over on farside. On his way home, he apparently decided to do the broadcast from here. TFS doesn't mention but this month is also the 30th anniversary of our first permanent dome, so they made it a bit of a thing; and there were quite a few of the old-timers visiting.

      My apartment is nearby but I didn't go. Busy working at bójin ku

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:02PM (#45785083)
    Would have been exciting to be around back when Sputnik took off or men orbited or landed on the moon.

    Wonder how long it will be until another major leap for humanity.

    Perhaps the Wright Brothers achieving flight or Columbus discovering the New World fits in that category.

    These days, we have to settle for technological achievements like the start of the world wide web or the launch of the iPhone --- maybe New Horizons flying past Pluto will be a bit of a "first ever" moment for humanity here in a bit over a year.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      It's just a Shane that with all that scientific advancement they couldn't get away from a fairy story like Genesis. They tried to bring the world together with that reading but ended up demonstrating how it is divided by superstition and dogma.

      I imagine it was a bit of a poke at the godless soviets as well. I'm really glad they didn't do it when landing on the moon as well.

      • Imagine? I'm all but certain of it. This was the same era when congress voted to add 'under god' to the pledge of allegence and change the national motto to 'in god we trust.' Both of which very much were ways to raise the national middle finger at the godless soviets.

      • Re:Profound moments (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @08:38AM (#45787049) Journal

        Part of the reason they didn't do it when they made the landing, was because of all the hell (read: lawsuit from an atheist) that NASA caught from this reading on Apollo 8. Buzz Aldrin was (is) a deeply religious man, and observed communion [snopes.com] in the LM after landing on the moon, after making this comment on the public radio loop:

        "This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way."

        He wanted the communion to be broadcast, but had the sense to ask first, and due to the lawsuit it was deemed to not be a good idea.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          As I said, I'm glad someone had the guts and foresight to stop it happening. Private worship is fine, but it was inappropriate to broadcast it.

    • Travel back in time 20 years. Grab me. I'm a 19-year-old college freshman home for Christmas break.

      I can't check my email, because there aren't any commercial ISPs where I live and long-distance is brutally expensive (and the college's modem bank is only 2400 bps, anyway), but that's okay because almost nobody I know outside of a few college friends uses email. The WWW is still largely theoretical. Next summer, I'll be able to get free 2400 bps service from a local university by working in a lab there, but
      • It is nice to have something with about the equivalent of a 2004-2005 era PC in the palm of your hand complete with sound and wifi networking and OpenGL support. Modern phones are undeniably amazing devices ---- Agreed.
      • I was thinking about all the incredible things that my grandmother saw happen in her lifetime - she was born not long after the first flight at Kitty Hawk, and saw the aerospace industry develop from glorified powered gliders to moon landings to jet airliners that everyday people can travel the world on. Automobiles from something only the rich had, into something that everyone had. Telegraphs to television to digital cellular phones on global communications networks. The Farmer's Almanac to weather sate

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          I was down at kitty hawk just this past summer and let me tell you it fits right up there with dachau and washingtons headquarters in places that I have felt magic
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Would have been exciting to be around back when Sputnik took off or men orbited or landed on the moon.

      I was around. I think I was six when Sputnik orbited (1958, wasn't it?) and I remember how much it freaked out all the adults. They freaked out even more when the Russians sent a man up there.

      Now, the Moon landing... [slashdot.org]

      Perhaps the Wright Brothers achieving flight or Columbus discovering the New World fits in that category.

      Ever seen Apollo 13? There's a scene where Lovell is talking to his wife on the night Nei

  • ... and the Discovery of Gravity.
    Happy Grav-Mass! [stallman.org]

    Why not celebrate comprehensible laws of physics that got your astronaut asses to the damn Moon by honoring Isaac Newton? You know, someone who was actually born on December 25th? [nytimes.com]

  • by Mister Liberty (769145) on Wednesday December 25, 2013 @10:26PM (#45785211)

    You can ask many a thirtysomething and younger nowadays, and even some fourtysomething, "Did humans
    walk on the moon in your lifetime" and most will know the answer and some will respond "Did they ever?".

    Yet these are the millions going down the street heads down, ears cupped, submerged into their own lives (and
    thousands of so called 'friends' waiting to hear if the corner they rounded just now was to the left or right), these
    lives totally and entirely framed within some 4x3 illumination.

  • I can't help but picture Lovell sitting on his porch, reminiscing of how great we were and how good the times were and how much everything was better back then... ...and being one of the few people who're right when they say everything used to be better... even the future.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday December 26, 2013 @12:46AM (#45785867) Homepage Journal

    If you're talking about the number of sects and splinter groups, then maybe "It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ... They all had that basis of the Old Testament." But if you're talking about the population of believers, the Hindus and Buddhists might have a thing or two to say about that.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      More importantly, most of China follows various "philosophies". They don't even call them "religions."

  • 'It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ...

    Last I checked neither India nor China follow any of the Abrahmic religions dominantly. They constitute at-least 40% of world population? (even back in '68)..

  • Great debate on the Abrahamaic religions, although it seems most everyone is missing a basic point: the old testament didn't start anything except a handful of offshoot cults; all it was was a regurgitation of Sumerian mythology, with some Egyptian added in... and probably a few others we've mostly forgotten about, although when every city has their own God (or gods), you really don't need anything else to pick and choose from. Then, of course, you have the Sumerians God's and beliefs that are are just a
  • I don't really see much point in getting involved in a religious discussion, but just to set the record straight -- most wars are caused by the personal ambition and greed of the ruling class, and seldom have anything to do with religious beliefs of one side or the other. Jonathon Kolkey's World Wide War Project (www.worldwidewarproject.com) contains a body of supporting material for his thesis, which is generally borne out by examining various wars in history. At most, religion seems to be used as part o
    • by Tokolosh (1256448)

      Historically, the ruling class is established by violence and conquest. Once ensconced, the rulers and their heirs naturally want to keep on ruling, because of the perks. However, the need for, and danger of, continued violence and conquest leads them to appeal to divine right. So their status is legitimized by god, which the peasants accept, and the status quo maintained.

      Read "The Collapse of Complex Societies" for an interesting treatise.

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