Seven years earlier, U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in a historic speech in Houston, Texas, announced to the world, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade.”
In 1968, NASA was pushing every system hard to achieve this incredible goal. A year earlier, Apollo 1 was a total catastrophe, the three astronauts perishing in a fire during launch training.
Apollo 8 was only the third launch of the 40-story Saturn V rocket with its three million parts, and the first time that men were aboard the contraption. When one of the Apollo 8 astronaut’s wives demanded to know the crew’s prospect, a NASA director candidly gave the mission a 50-50 chance of success.
The astronauts were Frank Borman, William Anders, and Jim Lovell.
After a journey of 68 hours, the crew circled the Moon 10 times. They were the first men to see the dark side of the Moon (the same side of the Moon always faces earth) and the first to see the earth from the Moon.
On the third journey around the Moon, on Christmas Eve, William Anders took the famous photo “Earthrise.” The high quality photograph, captured with Nikon equipment, shows the lovely blue earth, with its unique life-supporting atmosphere, off in the distance beyond the surface of a barren and colorless Moon. The two craters visible in the photo were named 8 Homeward and Anders’ Earthrise.
On that historic occasion, the crew of Apollo 8 read the creation account from the King James Bible. The reading from Genesis 1:1-10 was done via a live video transmission to earth. The estimated one billion people who heard the broadcast was the largest audience ever to listen to a human voice up to that time.
Borman said, “The only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate,” so he, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders took turns reading the Scripture.
In an press interview at the launch of his 2018 book Rocket Men, Borman said the idea was that of “the wife or a friend of a friend.” The only way it could have been topped, would have been for the men to have also read John 1:1-14 and John 3:16.
They concluded the historic broadcast with the gracious words, “And God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”
That night, in these end times, in the midst of the very apostasy prophesied in Scripture (2 Timothy 3), by God’s grace, a large percentage of the world’s population heard the eternal words of the Creator.
Seven months later, Neil Armstrong stepped into the pages of history when Apollo 11 put the first men on the Moon.
“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. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:1-10).
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