This Happened—December 24: Earth Rising For Apollo 8
This iconic photograph of Earth was taken from lunar orbit on this day in 1968, during the first crewed voyage to orbit the Moon.
Sign up to receive This Happened straight to your inbox each day!
Who took the Earthrise photo?
Astronaut William Anders took this photo during the Apollo 8 mission to the Moon. Before Anders's color image, a crude black-and-white 1966 raster image taken by the Lunar Orbiter 1 robotic probe, the first American spacecraft to orbit the Moon, was the only image we had of the Earth from space.
Why is the Earthrise photo so significant?
The photo has been described as "the most influential environmental photograph ever taken", and 50 years after taking the photo, William Anders observed, "We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth." The photograph was also famously used on the United States Postal Service’s 1969 stamp.