News / Science & Technology

NASA Reenacts 1968 Creation of Iconic Earth Photo

Earthrise it was seen from Apollo 8.
Earthrise it was seen from Apollo 8.

Related Articles

Evidence of Water Plumes Spotted on Europa

The plumes could shoot up to 200 kilometers into the air

Video ESA to Make 3D Map of Milky Way

European Space Agency this week successfully launched star-mapping satellite Gaia on mission that will take it more than a million kilometers from Earth

Astronauts Finish First Spacewalk to Fix Pump on ISS

Two astronauts from NASA completed initial work faster than planned but problem with spacesuit has postponed second spacewalk by one day
VOA News
On December 24, 1968, as the astronauts of Apollo 8 orbited the Moon, they caught an amazing view of the Earth rising over the lunar horizon. They were the first humans to see it.

The view came as a surprise, so the astronauts scrambled to the get the right film in the camera to preserve the moment forever.

Too late to get the image in color from one window, astronaut William Andrews, with an assist from James Lovell, got the shot as their spacecraft turned, offering another specatcular view.

The photo, Earthrise, became one of the iconic images of the 20th century.

Now, NASA has created a video re-enacting the event.

"The Earthrise visualization that we released for Earth Day last year really only scratched the surface," said Ernie Wright, project lead with the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "The new visualization tells us not only what time the photos were taken, but also exactly which way the spacecraft was pointing and therefore which window each photo was taken from. This will also be the first time we've released a video that's synchronized with the onboard audio recording of the astronauts."

To help in the recreation, NASA used data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

"Matching Apollo photography to the lunar terrain required an accuracy and completeness that I think only LRO's data could provide," said Wright. "I worked at a level of detail that required 100-meter resolution with perfect registration. You gain a new appreciation for the care of the LRO scientists who create this data when you get your virtual camera set up and the overlaid Apollo photography just snaps into place.

"The key to the new work is a set of vertical stereo photographs taken by Apollo 8," adds Wright. "A camera was mounted in the rendezvous window that pointed straight down onto the lunar surface. It took a picture every 20 seconds. When the spacecraft rotated, so did the images. By registering each photo to a model of the terrain from LRO data, we can nail down the timing of the spacecraft's rotation."

Wright went to great lengths to make the visualization as accurate as possible. He used the Apollo 8 flight plan, the onboard voice recording, data on the optical properties and mounting of the Hasselblad cameras, the dimensions and angles of the Command Module windows, a global map of Earth's cloud patterns from the Environmental Science Services Administration 7 satellite on the day the Earthrise photo was taken, and the position and orientation of the moon, the Earth, the sun, and the spacecraft.

Here's the video:

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: searchlandscape
December 25, 2013 6:56 AM
I have a question. What's the meaning of the word " specatcular " in the last sentence,paragraph 3, of the article? Why not "spectacular"?
I'm a high school student in China and my English isn't good. I'm not sure whether it is right?


by: Markt from: Virginia
December 23, 2013 5:09 PM
I have recently become intensely interested in space, the Moon, stars, planets.. having acquired a small telescope. I have looked upon the Moon in various phases and marveled at its sight in the night sky. But, to have witnessed such a thing as the Earthrise while orbiting the Moon, I can only imagine how that would have been like to witness.
The most remarkable of images are often captured without meaning to.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid