In December 1968, the three-man crew of Apollo 8 became the first people from our world to escape the Earth’s immediate environment in space and take up orbit around the Moon. It was the Apollo 8 mission that captured the famous photograph of the beautiful blue Earth rising above the Moon’s horizon, surrounded by dark, vast, empty space.
Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders sent back six live television transmissions during their flight, including the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, which was heard by an estimated one billion people around the world.
As the Apollo spacecraft rounded the Moon for the ninth time, the transmission began. Borman introduced the crew, followed by each man giving his impression of the lunar surface and what it was like to be orbiting the Moon.
Borman described it as being “a vast, lonely, forbidding expanse of nothing.”
Then, after further discussion of the landscape below, Anders indicated that the crew had a message for the people back on Earth. Each of the astronauts in turn then read a series of verses from the creation story (Genesis 1:1-10) in the King James Version of the Bible.
Borman concluded the broadcast, speaking for himself and his comrades, wishing a Merry Christmas and invoking God’s blessing upon everyone everywhere on Earth: “And 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”.
The historic Christmas Eve message from Apollo 8 is recreated in following 5-minute clip from the 1998 HBO miniseries, From the Earth To the Moon. The gathering shown watching the broadcast on TV represent the wife, sons, and friends of mission commander Frank Borman.
“And 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.”