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How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the disposable-camera-off-the-shelf dept.

Moon 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."

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[SPOILERS] (4, Funny)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | about a year ago | (#45749297)

They used a camera.

Re:[SPOILERS] (2, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about a year ago | (#45749337)

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.

Re:[SPOILERS] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749517)

* After "is conspiracy theory, or conspiracy theory sarcasm?" pause... *

It does strike me as interesting that unlike the views from orbit we see regularly that show population and technology density (e.g. the one making the point of North Korea's much weaker economic development than South Korea), where cities glow brightly against the rural darkness--the "dark side" of the Earth in the picture is absolutely dark in its entirety.

Perhaps everything but the sun's illumination is filtered by the atmosphere from that distance? We certainly would have had comparable populations (hence comparable artificial lighting) in 1969...

Re:[SPOILERS] (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749595)

It only strikes you as interesting because you have no idea how cameras, eyes, and exposure work. The rest of us aren't completely retarded.

Re: [SPOILERS] (5, Informative)

codegen (103601) | about a year ago | (#45749635)

It's the same reason no stars. The camera exposure is set for daylight ( the moon surface in the foreground) the day side of the earth. The pictures of night earth including artificial lights require longer exposures.

Re: [SPOILERS] (2)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#45750379)

It's the same reason no stars.

There are quite a number of stars visible in the full sized photo.

Re: [SPOILERS] (2)

S.O.B. (136083) | about a year ago | (#45750511)

It's the same reason no stars.

There are quite a number of stars visible in the full sized photo.

I looked at the full sized image [nasa.gov] (3000x2400) and I can only see a few dozen stars, a very, very, very, very small fraction of the stars that would be visible if not for the very bright planet in the middle of the picture.

The same is true on a night when there is a full moon vs a moonless night.

Anyone who knows anything about photography will not be surprised by this.

Re: [SPOILERS] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45751647)

I know I'm totally late to the game here, but does anybody know what this little guy [imgur.com] is? A tendril coming off a nebula or a light artifact? I tried teasing some more detail out but, well, JPG.

Re: [SPOILERS] (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#45751661)

That's pretty good considering I look outside my window and I see no stars. Either the sky or my eyes must not be real.

Re: [SPOILERS] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45754009)

If you look at the moon's surface at the bottom, you see a similar number of bright dust particles (specks, linear things and squiggly ones), as well as a similar number of dark ones. I'm not convinced that even a single of the dots in the picture is a star or planet.

Re: [SPOILER] (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#45752589)

Those were painted in later, and not very well - perhaps intentionally.

The ones portrayed (alpha superfactus and beta malumbra are the most obvious giveaways) would have been directly beneath the astronauts' feet at the time it was supposedly taken.

Re: [SPOILER] (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#45754253)

It's really odd that the only place Google can find those star names is in your Slashdot post. It's like you made them up just for the occasion.

Re:[SPOILERS] (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749647)

The picture probably had an exposure setting comparable to what you would use in the Arizona desert at high noon. You don't see any cities on the night side for the same reason you don't see any stars.

Re:[SPOILERS] (3, Informative)

jdschulteis (689834) | about a year ago | (#45749679)

It does strike me as interesting that unlike the views from orbit we see regularly that show population and technology density (e.g. the one making the point of North Korea's much weaker economic development than South Korea), where cities glow brightly against the rural darkness--the "dark side" of the Earth in the picture is absolutely dark in its entirety.

Perhaps everything but the sun's illumination is filtered by the atmosphere from that distance? We certainly would have had comparable populations (hence comparable artificial lighting) in 1969...

Even the world's greatest light polluting metropolis emits a puny amount of light compared to what Earth reflects from its sunlit side. The night side is "absolutely dark in its entirety" simply due to underexposure.

Re:[SPOILERS] (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45751265)

Did anyone actually use point and shoot cameras in the late 1960s / early 1970s?

Dynamic range of film with any decent ASA was abysmal back then - it got considerably better up through the 1980s and even 1990s.

Back then, people wouldn't have been asking "where are the stars and cities" - everyone knew that film just wasn't that good.

Re:[SPOILERS] (3, Informative)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about a year ago | (#45749681)

Our eyes have more dynamic range than a camera does. The dark area appears dark because it is much darker than the lighted area, so the dynamic range of the camera is "used up" adjusting for the range of the lighted area. Thus, anything below the low end of the adjusted range just looks black. Notice how you can't see many stars in the background, either.

Re:[SPOILERS] (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749997)

The surface of the moon is also extremely bright. Lunar regolith has roughly he same albedo as asphalt, only without a nice, thick atmosphere to buffer the sun's light. The Apollo crew could only see the brightest of stars while standing in the shadow of the LEM, it's the only place their eyes could almost adapt to the dark.

Re:[SPOILERS] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45754203)

A camera doesn't have any dynamic range.

"dark side" (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#45750093)

Of course the exposure as mentioned by many other posters is set for bright conditions. But even if the exposure had been changed, you would not perceive city illumination and shown in the "earth maps".

The photographs/maps showing the city lights have been heavily processed and derived from many raw orbital photographs.

In the natural state it is very difficult to make out artificial lighting even if dark adjusted.

Re:[SPOILERS] (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#45749715)

The desert scenes were filmed on Mars.

Re:[SPOILERS] (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749539)

it's an icon of our NEEEEEEEEEED to EXPLOOOOOORRRREEE

god I hate horseshit

Re:[SPOILERS] (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#45749921)

Wow, life must be painful for you.

Re:[SPOILERS] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750153)

Considering 99% of Slashdot is people bitching about needless, irrelevant, shiny toys, I'd say life can be pretty damn good for people who aren't always chasing the dragon.

Yeah, space is a fun dalliance, but ultimately I care about it as much as it cares about me.

Re:[SPOILERS] (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#45750541)

We don't need to know where your need to explore leads you... Please.

Re:[SPOILERS] (1)

real gumby (11516) | about a year ago | (#45749707)

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

Re:[SPOILERS] (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45751945)

A really shitty camera. That picture is so fucking blurry. I could have done better with a disposable point and shoot.

Spinit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749329)

FUCK! China landed a probe on the moon. Dammit we haven't done a damm thing in ages.

Quick. Start running some storys about how nasa is so awesome and did so many things first to cover up that china... CHINA. you know those guys who make all our cheap plastic walmart crap... is now kicking our asses in space.

We look like such fools.. Talk up how awesome NASA was!

Re:Spinit. (4, Interesting)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about a year ago | (#45749479)

FUCK! China landed a probe on the moon. Dammit we haven't done a damm thing in ages.

You mean except for the two rovers that are currently driving around on Mars?

Re:Spinit. (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#45749543)

The Chinese are getting ready to send a repair guy there, in case they need a tow or a jump-start.
That picture will be awesome!

Re:Spinit. (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45749789)

Wake me up when the Chinese get anybody above 400 miles. I seriously doubt that any Chinese astronauts are going to do much of anything.

Besides, launching people into space only once every three years or so isn't going to give them the ability to do much of anything. I am significantly underwhelmed by the progress of the Chinese space agency and their ability to recreate the Ranger missions.... and boldly go where dozens of amateur rocket hobbyists [googlelunarxprize.org] plan to tread in the very near future.

There certainly is no plan by the Chinese Space Agency to develop the hard infrastructure needed for major missions like you are implying. They don't even have a good equivalent of the Deep Space Network.

Re:Spinit. (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about a year ago | (#45749911)

I just felt like I was reading the transcript of a talk by the Russians about the US after the Launch of Sputnik, or maybe Gagarin.

I am looking forward to seen whether the amateurs can make it to the moon before the Chinese. The main difference is resiliency to failure, and failures there will be.

Re:Spinit. (1)

Kickasso (210195) | about a year ago | (#45749959)

There's a slight difference between "amateur hobbyist" and "privately funded company".

Re:Spinit. (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45750249)

Yes.... a privately funded company would be something like SpaceX, Planetary Resources, or Bigelow Aerospace. Amateur hobbyists are groups like a bunch of students and interested amateurs (perhaps even professionals working in their spare time) such as Team Pulli [googlelunarxprize.org] or Team FredNet [googlelunarxprize.org] . You can argue that they are likely not going to get to the Moon, but the point is that purely amateur hobbyists are participating in the GLXP and some have serious plans for actually getting to the Moon.

That some privately funded companies are also participating with GLXP is sort of besides the point, but it is worth mentioning that some folks think they can make the trip to the Moon through pure philanthropic donations or simply holding out a tin can begging people to help with their trip.

Re:Spinit. (1)

mmell (832646) | about a year ago | (#45750095)

Yeah, lemme guess - Sputnik wasn't that big an accomplishment either, was it?

By the way, what's the space program in your country up to nowadays? Just askin'.

Re:Spinit. (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45750299)

Yeah, lemme guess - Sputnik wasn't that big an accomplishment either, was it?

By the way, what's the space program in your country up to nowadays? Just askin'.

Besides a spacecraft currently in operation around Saturn, one that just left the Solar System entirely, another one on its way to Pluto, still another spacecraft traveling to yet another planet (admittedly dwarf planet) called Ceres, and has discovered nearly a thousand new planets and planetary systems elsewhere in the Milky Way galaxy? Oh, and of course the two rovers currently operating on Mars and a recent survey of Mercury?

And all of that is what is happening right now, not just in the distant past. If everything goes well, more people will be going into space over the next couple of years than the whole of human history to date. If you want to know what America is doing, it is better to look now at private companies rather than the historical national space agency, especially for manned exploration, but even so NASA is still quite busy and doing some very impressive things.

I'd call that doing a whole lot, and certainly makes anything China is doing pale in comparison.

And no, Sputnik really wasn't that big of a deal when it happened other than getting several congressmen's panties in a bunch. In terms of raw technology in the 1950's and 1960's, America was by far ahead of anything Russia could do and in some ways wanted Russia to be first for several political reasons. I do respect the Russian space program, and they certainly are very competent at what they are doing, but you shouldn't blow it out of proportion either. There is a reason why the Eisenhower administration wasn't all that concerned when Sputnik flew.

Re:Spinit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750555)

"America was by far ahead of anything Russia could do and in some ways wanted Russia to be first for several political reasons. I do respect the Russian space program, and they certainly are very competent at what they are doing, but you shouldn't blow it out of proportion either. "

First you mean the Germans the Americans took were ahead of the Germans the Russians took?

"wanted Russia to be first for several political reasons" - I don't think i have ever heard someone spin it that way" .

Re:Spinit. (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45750637)

First you mean the Germans the Americans took were ahead of the Germans the Russians took?

Yes, and that speaks well of America. Which side do you think von Braun and company went out of their way to surrender to?

Re:Spinit. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#45754231)

It only speaks well of America if you think that war criminals shouldn't be punished.

Then again, you probably voted for Bush.

AC Needs Some Space History (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45751113)

Von Braun's group could have almost certainly launched a satellite for the US in 1957 before Sputnik 1. In 1956 they had already launched their Jupiter-C rocket to over 70% of orbital velocity and over a thousand km high with a DUMMY 4th stage. Through 1957 they repeatedly asked for permission to launch one with a live 4th stage but the Eisenhower administration considered it "provocative". After Sputnik 1 orbited, the von Braun team was given their go-ahead orders and launched Explorer 1 into orbit aboard a Jupiter-C less than three months later. Can anyone doubt they could have done it in 1957?

AC Needs Some Space History (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | about a year ago | (#45751127)

Reposting what I accidentally just put up as AC:
Von Braun's group could have almost certainly launched a satellite for the US in 1957 before Sputnik 1. In 1956 they had already launched their Jupiter-C rocket to over 70% of orbital velocity and over a thousand km high with a DUMMY 4th stage. Through 1957 they repeatedly asked for permission to launch one with a live 4th stage but the Eisenhower administration considered it "provocative". After Sputnik 1 orbited, the von Braun team was given their go-ahead orders and launched Explorer 1 into orbit aboard a Jupiter-C less than three months later. Can anyone doubt they could have done it in 1957?

Re:Spinit. (0)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45751293)

I'm significantly underwhelmed by the longevity of the Euro-American civilization currently making all the fuss in North America.

So, it took the Chinese 50 years to "catch up" to the pre-Apollo U.S. space program, that's what, like 1% of the duration of their continuous civilization?

Re:Spinit. (1)

drkim (1559875) | about a year ago | (#45751855)

They haven't really "caught up" to us until they have dudes on the moon playing golf and drinking Tang.

Re:Spinit. (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about a year ago | (#45751399)

Really, what is the current ability of the US to launch people into space? Oh right, paying for access on other countries rockets. While NASA may currently have the ability to launch and support robotic missions their ability to support human missions falls short of China's capabilities.

Re:Spinit. (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#45752611)

Manned spaceflight is overrated.

Re:Spinit. (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45753219)

It should be pointed out that there has been a nearly continuous failure on the part of NASA to come up with a successor to the Space Shuttle.... something that has been in the works since the late 1970's even before the Columbia made its initial flight. I can easily find reference to over a dozen different alternatives that had received various levels of funding, including more than a few that even got so far as early prototype levels of development and even spent some time in the air for testing purposes. I agree that it is a national travesty, but getting nasty here because America can't put people into space at the moment is just a temporary situation that is not going to remain.

Current manned spaceflight vehicles under substantial development (meaning I think nearly all of them are going to actually make the trip into space with people inside) include:

  1. * NASA's Orion
  2. * SpaceX Dragon
  3. * Boeing CST-100
  4. * Sierra Nevada Dreamchaser
  5. * Blue Origin Capsule (I don't know if it has a formal public name)

Those are just the orbital spacecraft, and there are about another half dozen sub-orbital spacecraft like Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Two vehicle that likely will be flying next year as well. Yesterday (as of when I was writing this reply) SpaceX even conducted a major flight test of the crewed version of the Dragon vehicle and plans on performing a significant abort test (basically a sub-orbital flight) later on next year (2014).

Heck, the SpaceX Dragon has already been into space, docked with the ISS, and returned safely to the Earth. What is being worked on right now is simply to increase the safety margins to include the option to do an on-pad abort in an accident... but if there was a real reason to send people into space right now (like to rescue people on the ISS in a life threatening situation) the Dragon could be pressed into emergency service right now.

I would certainly be willing to fly in any one of these spacecraft listed above in preference to anything China can produce.

Re:Spinit. (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#45753811)

These are all political issues not technological issues. Everytime a new president comes into office, one of the first things they do is can the majority of what NASA was working on so they have to start over for the new guys desires. We were on track to be back on the moon in the next 4 or 5 years by the timeline set under president bush if i recall correctly

Re:Spinit. (3, Insightful)

almitydave (2452422) | about a year ago | (#45749487)

FUCK! China landed a probe on the moon. Dammit we haven't done a damm thing in ages.

Good for China. Now how many probes do they have on Mars? We just landed, what, our 4th rover?

CHINA. you know those guys who make all our cheap plastic walmart crap... is now kicking our asses in space.

Let me know when China lands men on the moon, or anything on Mars [google.com] . Personally, I'm also super impressed with the Cassini [nasa.gov] mission. Did you know that Titan has lakes [nasa.gov] ?

Re:Spinit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750873)

Did you know that Titan has lakes [nasa.gov] ?

Depends on your definition of lake. It's not water.

Re:Spinit. (3, Insightful)

The Rizz (1319) | about a year ago | (#45749669)

We look like such fools.. Talk up how awesome NASA was!

The other way to look at it is; "look how awesome NASA used to be - let's fund them again, and get more awesome like this, dammit!"

Perspective (3, Insightful)

Gob Gob (306857) | about a year ago | (#45749343)

Perspective is such a wonderful thing

People should get out and about more

Re:Perspective (4, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#45749723)

Perspective is such a wonderful thing

Not from where I'm standing.

Re:Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749757)

People should get out and about more

I got bumped from my last scheduled trip to the Moon, but with my raincheck and my frequent flier miles I should be able to get there before you know it. I'll send a postcard.

On a set (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749383)

On a set in the Nevada desert of course.

Re:On a Mac (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#45752645)

Don't be silly.

It was done on the screen of a Mac. Just take a look at the pixels.

It's not important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749397)

It's iconic. We already knew what the Earth looked like.

Re:It's not important (4, Insightful)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about a year ago | (#45749439)

The perspective from the moon makes it important because it fuels the need to explore. That's why the iconic moment is important.

Re:It's not important (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749603)

But we explored just fine without sending people, and we can send many more machines much further and longer. What would be the equivalent "most important" picture from the bottom of the ocean? That's exploring too, right? Oh wait, it only counts when it's space, right?

What did this picture of the Earth "explore"? The fact that it's round? We figured that out 5000 years ago with shadows. Did we explore the camera's capabilities? The inside of the Command Module? No, we built them...

Re:It's not important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749883)

But we explored just fine without sending people, and we can send many more machines much further and longer. What would be the equivalent "most important" picture from the bottom of the ocean? That's exploring too, right? Oh wait, it only counts when it's space, right?

What did this picture of the Earth "explore"? The fact that it's round? We figured that out 5000 years ago with shadows. Did we explore the camera's capabilities? The inside of the Command Module? No, we built them...

You're an asshole.

Re:It's not important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749887)

RFTSummary.

Yes, we kinda "knew" what the Earth looked like. But piecing together a composite isn't the same thing as a snapshot.* It's more real.

And it's importance wasn't just about the itch to explore (which may be what it means to geeks today). As TFSummary explains, in the 1960s, the image of the Earth floating in the vastness of space had a profound psychological impact on a people who â" unlike us today â" had never seen at it that way. Seeing the location of every known living thing (except the crew of three) within that frame was a whole different perspective on our world, both literally and figuratively.

*The "Big Blue Marble" photo from Apollo 17 is arguably as important as this one in that respect, as the first one take of the Earth as a completely (half-)illuminated sphere

Re:It's not important (2)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about a year ago | (#45750045)

Whats even more astounding than this iconic photo is the tiny pinpoint of light that is Earth seen in pictures from the Mars rovers, or how about the picture from one of the deep space probes looking back at the the Earth-Moon system (was it NewHorizons, I forget).. THOSE picture blow my mind even more than this one..

Re:It's not important (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45751301)

You don't have to be very far away at all to get those photos, just set the lens to wide angle...

Re:It's not important (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#45750701)

As TFSummary explains, in the 1960s, the image of the Earth floating in the vastness of space had a profound psychological impact on a people who "unlike us today" had never seen at it that way.

The TFS is regurgitating hype. I was around when that picture came out, and despite the poetic pronouncements of people whose wont is to hype, most people just thought it was a great picture.

Re:It's not important (2)

mmell (832646) | about a year ago | (#45750119)

Yeah, you stay here and wait for the next major asteroid impact (or WWIII, or the supervolcano at Yellowstone to pop, or . . . ). If my kids get off this rock in time, they can come back later, pump your remains outta the ground and refine 'em for use in their flying cars.

Re:It's not important (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45749633)

That's what is important about it.

That picture of Earth had a pretty big impact on peoples' minds. It's hard to convey that to younger generations. Imagine you're living in a world where two sides of the globe are hell bent on destroying each other and both sides kinda-sorta think that they could win, or at least that they could kinda-sorta survive such a MAD scenario. They keep telling you that the other side is out to get you and to kill you, and that there is nothing more important than getting them first.

And then you see our planet, set against this pitch black void of space. That tiny, precious marble that we call our Earth, the only place where we can live. A tiny spec of heaven in the middle of the unfriendly, dangerous and outright deadly void around it.

Of course we knew what our planet looks like. We had people in orbit before. They were up there and they were able to look down onto our planet. But they always saw it as something huge. When you're in LEO, Earth is pretty big. When you're looking at it from the moon, it gets incredibly tiny. Precious. And very fragile.

I don't want to say that this picture "won" the cold war, in the sense that we steered towards mutual acceptance and away from the idea that we should blow each other up. SALT was started before it. But I think it did have some impact on the people, and on how they saw our planet.

Re:It's not important (0)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#45750031)

...and then realize that the "other side" that America unwaveringly accepted was an absolutely evil, freedom-hating actor is now responsible for securing the freedom of someone who exposed America's absolutely evil, freedom-hating actions.

How times have changed.

Re:It's not important (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#45750403)

The Soviet Union actually ensured our freedom. As long as it existed, our rulers had to play nice so they'd be seen as the good guy.

Re:It's not important (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45751315)

Good ideas have always been around, and relatively easy to recognize. Getting good ideas accepted by a majority vote is the big trick.

Hey everyone, Phil's back! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749409)

Wow. His new gig must not be doing too well. After the got the boot from Discovery we didn't hear anything from him. The Slate must be pushing him to pimp out his blog more. Phil must be losing what little audience he has left or he wouldn't bother with Slashdot because Phil doesn't care about spreading science. Phil cares about Phil. It's all about the dollars for this small minded jackwagon.
 
Welcome back, Phil. Not that you'll see this because we know you don't come back to answer questions or be part of the community. You just come to spam about your little blog and you're back off looking for more people you can hoodwink into reading your garbage. Well... it's not even reading anymore, is it Phil. You had to kick it down yet another notch to a video. I guess you're getting desperate for page hits.

Another Hollywood fake (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749425)

Just fuck stop releasing fakes after fakes. We all know that american space program is "made in Hollywood" fakes.
We are so sick of your fucking fakes.

Oh America (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749453)

>They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis. You just couldn't leave religion out of it, could you. Fuck's sake America.

Re:Oh America (0)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#45749503)

My guess is they didn't choose Genesis chapter 3 for the reading either, about how Man shouldn't eat from the forbidden tree of knowledge, lest he realize he's naked.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

3:9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

Re:Oh America (3, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#45749667)

My guess is they didn't choose Genesis chapter 3 for the reading either, about how Man shouldn't eat from the forbidden tree of knowledge, lest he realize he's naked.

NASA felt that telling everybody that the crew of Apollo 8 spent the entire mission naked might be bad for the public image of the space program.

Re:Oh America (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#45750151)

For the more esoterically-oriented out there, more relevant would be that he realized he was indifferentiable from an animal, a situation for which adding clothing would be a natural attempt to differentiate oneself.

Which, with his newly acquired cognitive range, would have presented rather troubling implications for himself and his surroundings regarding things outside the garden.

Implications which, I might add, persist for some right through to the present day.

Re:Oh America (1)

Empiric (675968) | about a year ago | (#45750189)

Addendum:

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom."

--Thomas

Re:Oh America (2)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45749949)

They felt inspired due to seeing something that literally no other human ever in the entire existence of mankind had ever seen before. If you can't grasp just how profound it was for a group of people going further away from any other group of people in all of history (several times further from any other group), you really fail to grasp just what was going on that particular December of 1968.

Yes, they could have read something out of Shakespear, Tolkein, Douglas Adams, or Einstein. Instead, they choose something that was written even earlier simply to show the sheer historic significance of what it was that they were doing.

Besides, why do you give a crap about what somebody else believes? A basic principle of liberty is that people are free to believe or not believe whatever it is that they want. The first amendment applies just as much to astronauts as it does to anybody else, and that even includes the freedom from censorship about religious ideas too. The next time you decide to take a trip around from the back side of the Moon and want to make a profound public statement about your experience, you can chose something else you think is much more appropriate like Dr. Seuss.

Re:Oh America (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45751331)

And I would eat it here, or there. I would eat it ANYWHERE!

I do so like green cheese and ham, thank you, thank you, Sam I am.

Fast teamwork? (3, Interesting)

rnturn (11092) | about a year ago | (#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? (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#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? (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Fast teamwork? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45751357)

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? (3, Informative)

Alomex (148003) | about a year ago | (#45750017)

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.

Re:Fast teamwork? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45750105)

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 spacecraft commander was given some degree of discretion on what he could do (Bill Anders in the case of Apollo 8). They didn't necessarily need permission from mission control in order to photograph the Earth, although it wasn't on the official list of tasks they were supposed to be doing.

Re:Fast teamwork? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#45750233)

Borman was Commander. Anders was LMP, even though there was no LEM.

Re:Fast teamwork? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#45750339)

Borman was Commander. Anders was LMP, even though there was no LEM.

My mistake. You are correct.

Funny thing is (2)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#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.

Re:Funny thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750001)

That makes no sense. Your comment that is. Did you type it, or did you just mash your face on the keyboard and roll around for a bit?

Well, at least ... (1, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#45749797)

... it wasn't this [flickr.com] view.

Direct link (1)

bidule (173941) | about a year ago | (#45749871)

Why go through Slate when you can hit NASA?

http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-releases-new-earthrise-simulation-video/ [nasa.gov]

Re:Direct link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45749943)

It's because Phil 'Phucking' Plait wants to whore out his blog to try to generate some page hits. Phil's all about the dollars. He could have come up with something on his own but he ripped of NASA and then pimped on Slashdot. That's how Phucking Phil works.
 
As much of a big dumb prick that he is it was nice to see him smiling on his page. They must have just given him his paycheck to make him smile like that. Normally he's just a sour puss and an asshole.

Genesis? (1)

X-Ray Artist (1784416) | about a year ago | (#45749897)

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.

Re:Genesis? (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about a year ago | (#45749965)

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.

oddly familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750065)

so the earth and the moon are the same size?

Re:oddly familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750391)

No, but the sun and the moon are the same size. Haven't you ever seen a solar eclipse?

So Cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45750431)

So Cool.

The Most Important Image Ever Taken (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#45750487)

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,

Re:The Most Important Image Ever Taken (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#45750961)

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).

Mistitled link. (1)

fred911 (83970) | about a year ago | (#45750737)

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.

Re:Mistitled link. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a year ago | (#45751007)

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.

Was kool to see how it took place. -shorter link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE-vOscpiNc [youtube.com]
thanks for that was a good watch.

Awesome photo (1)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about a year ago | (#45751337)

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] .

Just sheer luck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45752421)

it wasn't cloudy that day!

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