On December 24, 1968, the American Apollo 8 mission made the first live broadcast from space. The mission, the first to orbit the Moon, transmitted images and audio back to Earth. The Christmas Eve broadcast became the most-watched television program at the time. Americans saw the surface of the Moon as well as the now-famous image of “Earthrise”—the Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon.

The broadcast, by astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman, included a reading from Genesis, the first book in the Bible. The quotation, which resulted in a lawsuit from prominent atheist Madelyne Murray O’Hair, ended with benevolence: “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas—and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

astronaut
Noun

person who takes part in space flights.

Bible
Noun

holy book of the Christian religion.

broadcast
Verb

to transmit signals, especially for radio or television media.

Noun

line where the Earth and the sky seem to meet.

lawsuit
Noun

legal action brought by one person or organization against another.

Noun

natural satellite of a planet.

Verb

to move in a circular pattern around a more massive object.

prominent
Adjective

important or standing out.

transmit
Verb

to pass along information or communicate.

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