'Earthrise' Apollo 8 Photos Recalled With Simulation by NASA

Thursday, 26 Dec 2013 08:49 AM

By Michael Mullins

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NASA's "Earthrise" photos from the Apollo 8 mission orbiting the moon were highlighted in a simulation last week by the space agency to celebrate the 45-year anniversary of the mission.

The high-resolution simulation commemorates the iconic photos taken just days before Christmas 1968. They were the first color photographs of the Earth taken by a person orbiting the moon.

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"This new simulation allows anyone to virtually ride with the astronauts and experience the awe they felt at the vista in front of them," NASA's press release reads. "The new computer simulation was created using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, and includes details not seen in previous visualizations."

"Launched in June 2009, LRO has conducted science activities and returned a treasure trove of unprecedented images of the lunar surface," NASA added.

The simulation includes audio recordings from the mission, featuring the three-astronaut crew: Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders.

"Got a color film, Jim?" William Anders is heard asking in the recording. "Hand me a roll of color, quick, would you?"

"Oh man, that's great! Where is it?" James Lovell responded.

"Hurry. Quick," said Anders as the Earth rose into view, CBS News reported.

According to Space.com, there have been prior Earthrise Apollo 8 mission simulations, but none were this precise.

"The Earthrise visualization that we released for Earth Day last year really only scratched the surface," Ernie Wright, the project lead with the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told Space.com. "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."

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