50 years ago on Christmas Eve (Dec 24, 1968), the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 took an amazing series of photos of the rising earth behind the limb of the moon, while in orbit. The first photo was black and white, and subsequent ones (with the earth having risen farther from the moon horizon) were color, and now with some digital magic, these are combined into one image. Glorious.
“Oh my God, look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth comin’ up. Wow, is that pretty!” — Astronaut Bill Anders, Apollo 8
This was a cool moment in tonight’s (ongoing) coverage of the Inauguration festivities:
That’s the prototype of NASA’s new electric moon rover under development. It’s not actually due to be launched to the moon for another 12 years and the design might change and we might not even go to the moon if the economy doesn’t get better – but assuming we do, as a nation, avoid some sort of Shoe Event Horizon scenario, then something like this might end up on the moon someday.
Obama’s face was shining when the rover came along. I can’t blame him. It’s the coolest thing in the parade by far.
The Japanese spacecraft Kaguya, on a mission to the moon in what is described as the most significant moon exploration since Apollo, has delivered incredible HDTV-quality videos of the Earth rising and setting over the lunar horizon. These are unbelievable, like special effects in some movie, but they are real.