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Happy 40th, Earthrise

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UPI Photo/NASA/FILE

(Read caption) This photo of "Earthrise" over the lunar horizon was taken by the Apollo 8 crew 40 years ago in December 1968, showing Earth for the first time as it appears from deep space.

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Forty years ago, on Christmas Eve 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders became the first humans to visit another celestial body, as their Apollo 8 spacecraft entered the moon's orbit.

As the lunar module made its fourth pass around the dark side of the moon, Commander Borman saw something that nobody had ever seen before. He grabbed a camera, and he and Anders began snapping pictures.

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Taken by Anders, this snapshot of the Earth contrasted with the barren lunar surface has been called “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.

As they rounded the moon for the ninth time, the crew made their memorable television broadcast, in which they took turns reading the story of the world's creation from the Book of Genesis.

The broadcast closed with a holiday wish from Borman: "We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth."