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The Voyage of Apollo 8: The 40th Anniversary of Mankind's First Trip to the Moon [Slide Show]

When three U.S. astronauts became the first humans to leave Earth's gravity field, some NASA experts gave them a 50-50 chance of making it home alive
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HAPPY HOMECOMING:

The Apollo 8 crew gets a heroes' welcome on LaSalle Street in Chicago, January 18, 1969. From left, Navy Capt. James Lovell, Jr., waving; Air Force Col. Frank Borman; and Air Force Lt. Col. William Anders.....[ More ]

THE RIGHT STUFF OF HISTORY:

The Apollo 8 crew stands in the doorway of a recovery helicopter after arriving aboard the carrier U.S.S. Yorktown . Left to right are Astronauts Frank Borman, James A Lovell, Jr., and William A. ....[ More ]

TRIED, TESTED AND TRUE:

The Apollo 8 capsule, sans crew, is hoisted aboard the recovery aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Yorktown, after its successful splashdown on December 27, 1968. All spacecraft systems operated within allowable limits and all the mission objectives were achieved.....[ More ]

TRAIL BY FIRE:

Apollo 8 leaves a fiery trail as it reenters Earth's atmosphere at around 25,000 miles (40,200 kilometers) per hour. This photograph was taken using a U.S. Air Force airborne lightweight optical tracking system (ALOTS) camera mounted on a KC-135-A aircraft flown at an altitude of 40,000 feet (13,000 meters).....[ More ]

HOME RUN:

A half Earth photographed by the Apollo 8 astronauts on their return trip from the moon. The terminator crosses Australia. India is visible. The sun reflection illuminates the Indian Ocean.....[ More ]

STILL TRANQUIL:

Looking northwest into Mare Tranquillitatis (the Sea of Tranquility). The three prominent craters are Taruntis F [ lower right corner ]; Taruntis E [ center ]; and Cauchy between the two linear features.....[ More ]

CLOSE-UP OF THE FAR SIDE:

This oblique view of the lunar surface looks south across the far side crater, Tsiolkovsky, centered near 129 degrees east longitude, 21 degrees south latitude. Its flat floor is much darker than the surrounding surface and most of the mare material observed by Apollo 8 .....[ More ]

FAR OUT:

Apollo 8 's crew members were the first humans to lay eyes on the moon's far side, whose features are much more rugged than the familiar face visible from Earth. One of its most notable features is the large crater Tsiolkovsky.....[ More ]

GRAY CHEESE:

This view of the lunar surface looks southward toward Goclenius and other large craters near 45 degrees east longitude and 10 degrees south latitude in Mare Fecunditatis (the Sea of Fertility). Goclenius, [ foreground ] with rilles traversing its flat floor, is about 45 miles (70 kilometers) in diameter.....[ More ]

IT'S ALL BACK THERE:

High-oblique view of the moon's surface showing Earth rising above the lunar horizon, looking west-southwest, as photographed from lunar orbit. The center of the picture is located at about 105 degrees east longitude and 13 degrees south latitude.....[ More ]

OTHERWORLDLY PERSPECTIVE:

Photograph of nearly full moon taken from Apollo 8 at a point above 70 degrees east longitude. Mare Crisium (the Sea of Crises), the circular, dark-colored area close to the center is near the full moon's eastern edge when viewed from Earth.....[ More ]

WORLDLY PERSPECTIVE:

This view of Earth from Apollo 8 on its way to the moon shows much of the Western Hemisphere and the eastern Pacific Ocean, including most of North America, extending to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America.....[ More ]

CRAMMED IN SPACE:

Commander Frank Borman at the controls in the equipment-packed command module cabin. This still photo was made from movie film taken by an onboard 16-millimeter camera.....[ More ]

FIRED UP:

The Apollo 8 spacecraft, sans moon lander, atop a Saturn 5 rocket launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, at 7:51 A.M. Eastern Standard Time on December 21, 1968.....[ More ]

WELL-SUITED:

From left to right, the crew of Apollo 8, James Lovell, Jr., command module pilot; William Anders, lunar module pilot; and Frank Borman, commander, pose on the steps of a Kennedy Space Center simulator in their space suits.....[ More ]

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