Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Moon Space Earth

How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History 108

The Bad Astronomer writes "On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts saw the Earth rising over the limb of the Moon. The photo they took of this moment — dubbed Earthrise — has become an icon of our need to explore, and to protect our home world. NASA has just released a video explaining how the astronauts were able to capture this unique moment, which included a dash of both coincidence and fast teamwork."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History

Comments Filter:
  • [SPOILERS] (Score:5, Funny)

    by zAPPzAPP ( 1207370 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:28PM (#45749297)

    They used a camera.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mythosaz ( 572040 )

      Having seen the brilliant documentary Capricorn One [imdb.com], I can assure you: While it might have been taken with a camera, it was clearly of a matte painting, not of the Earth itself.

      • The desert scenes were filmed on Mars.

    • Oh for mod points: I would mod this "Informative"

  • Perspective (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gob Gob ( 306857 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:32PM (#45749343)

    Perspective is such a wonderful thing

    People should get out and about more

  • Fast teamwork? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @05:55PM (#45749553)

    ``included a dash of both coincidence and fast teamwork''

    Hmm... interesting description. It's not as though they went to the moon for a single orbit (there were ten) and then came right back. Did they manage to miss the Earth rise until their last orbit and had to act quickly? No, it was on the fourth orbit. If they missed it, they'd get another chance in two hours. From the transcript, I found the most interesting thing was that they had a list of things they were supposed to photograph, that Earth doesn't appear to have been on the list, and that there seems to been a bit of a disagreement as to whether they should even be snapping that photo. Sure the photo schedule they had was driven by the scientific information they were collection for the planetary scientists and for the planners of the future Apollo missions but you'd think they could have contacted Capcom and told them "Hey we've got a great PR opportunity here...". It's sort of funny nowadays that many, if not most, unmanned missions seem to have a view of Earth built into their photographic schedule. Keeps the general public interested, I guess.

    (No... haven't seen the video yet; bandwidth starved at the my location. The above is based on the transcript.)

    • Re:Fast teamwork? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:13PM (#45749719)

      that there seems to been a bit of a disagreement as to whether they should even be snapping that photo.

      I can understand that. Film* was a precious commodity and they didn't want to miss a required shot by snapping a bunch of unplanned crap.

      *Don't ask, kid. And stay off my lawn!

    • Re:Fast teamwork? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:49PM (#45749995)

      In the video, there wasn't actually a disagreement about taking the picture. It's clear from Borman's tone that he was kidding with Anders about whether or not that photo was scheduled, and Anders responds with a chuckle and keeps taking the pictures.

      It's also worth pointing out that this was at the height of the space race. They didn't really need any more PR at that point. They just needed to win.

      Also, as I understand it, the reason they missed it previously (and on subsequent orbits) was because the capsule was simply oriented in the wrong direction. It was only because they were in the middle of the roll maneuver that the windows turned for awhile in a direction that allowed them to capture the shot. Prior to and after the maneuver they were not oriented in such a way that they could capture the shot.

      • Any manned lunar orbit mission today would likely include dedicated external cameras that could capture those images regardless of attitude.

        Amazing what 50 years of technology advance has done for the cost of imaging.

    • Re:Fast teamwork? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:50PM (#45750017) Homepage

      and that there seems to been a bit of a disagreement as to whether they should even be snapping that photo.

      That's a joke son. You can hear it clearly in the recording that it was meant in jest/snarky-remark.

    • by Teancum ( 67324 )

      One of the reasons why most unmanned missions have a view of the Earth as a part of their photo schedule is precisely because of this famous photograph. Even today, it is one of the most widely requested photographs from NASA (both from server activity as well as from its PR office) and has been credited with popularizing the environmental movement to possibly even ending the Vietnam War.

      As you say, this was a public relation opportunity, but at the time it wasn't even considered. On the other hand, the s

  • by Mister Liberty ( 769145 ) on Friday December 20, 2013 @06:11PM (#45749697)
    pretty soon we will all be witness to Earthset, and from space it won't even look less pretty than this.
    Only thing is, it's man created, and the moon won't even be a possible last resort.
  • ... it wasn't this [flickr.com] view.

  • It certainly was a different time then. Today, there would be much ado about this. A government project with the main players reading a religious text? No way that would work today.

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      A government project with the main players reading a religious text? No way that would work today.

      Exactly. Back then it was no big deal, there may have been a few that bitched but most would not think of it as promoting Christianity but as a general observation of this tiny speck of soil, water, and air in the midst of extremely large volume of black space. And back then the country was not as religious as it is today.

  • I apologize in advance but this is what DRM brings you, The Most Important Image Ever Taken has always been considered the Deep Space Pix
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcBV-cXVWFw [youtube.com] .

    "The single most important image ever taken by humanity".

    I have a copy of the video -I grab the good stuff in case something like this happens, but does nobody any good but me.
    BTW the background is Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

    Get to walk the dog, then see if I can get a link of it here. The audio explains it all,

    • The mistittled link has it's place in image history but taken before the Deep Space pix.

      The Deep Space Field Flv is here ftp://trax.asuscomm.com/MECLOUD/Image/ [asuscomm.com]
      it's a 13 Meg zip file, a zip file as it would play if clicked on. If asked for a password, it's: image

      I'm know of being slashdotted, see how asuscomm takes it if it happens. :}

      This can be taken down at anytime (obvious).

  • The link is mistitled. The result is an article about the video. For those if us that want the meat now: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dE-vOscpiNc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DdE-vOscpiNc [youtube.com] should get you there.

  • It is indeed an awesome photo, but personally, I think Voyager 1's Pale Blue Dot [nasa.gov] photograph of Earth is much more thought provoking.

    Wikipedia has a write-up about it here [wikipedia.org].

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.