Article by Michael Burton, Director of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.
Rollout to the launch pad of the Apollo 8 Saturn V on October 9, 1968. Credit NASA.
Christmas Eve of 1968 saw the arrival of the first humans at the Moon – the crew of Apollo 8. A truly momentous event in history, the arrival of humans to another world for the very first time. However the event has been largely overshadowed in our minds by Apollo 11, which, seven months later brought the first humans to the very surface of another world. In this astronotes article we look back to the epic journey of Apollo 8, 50 years ago. It was a journey that is inscribed into the history books as much as those of Marco Polo, of Captain Cook, of Roald Amundsen in earlier eras, one that transfixed humanity at the time.
A picture of the crew while in orbit around the Moon; Frank Borman is in the centre. Credit NASA.
Apollo 8 was one of the essential space missions that made possible the six successful Moon landings of Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17, trailing key stages in the technology that enables the journey from ...