<p>The crew of Apollo 8&mdash;James A. Lovell Jr., command module pilot; William A. Anders, lunar module pilot; and Frank Borman, commander&mdash;became the first men to successfully orbit the moon in December 1968.</p>
  • 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.”

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    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.

    horizon Noun

    line where the Earth and the sky seem to meet.

    Encyclopedic Entry: horizon
    lawsuit Noun

    legal action brought by one person or organization against another.

    moon Noun

    natural satellite of a planet.

    Encyclopedic Entry: moon
    orbit Verb

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: orbit
    prominent Adjective

    important or standing out.

    transmit Verb

    to pass along information or communicate.