Bitmoji photo of Joseph Gruber

Joseph Gruber

Thoughts from a spacecraft engineering manager, photographer, coffee aficionado, and future Mars resident.

That First Step 40 Years Ago Today

The earth rises over the surface of the moon as seen from the Apollo 8 capsule
Earthrise over the Moon's surface on Apollo 8 by NASA

It’s hard to believe but today, December 21st, marks the 40th anniversary for the first manned moon trip, Apollo 8. Back on December 21st, 1968, three astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, launched into space, towards the moon, on-board their Saturn V rocket. This marked the first of many steps on placing humans on the moon and onto further research and endeavors.

Unfortunately, the further endeavors were been put on hold for a long forty years. Thankfully though we are back on the right steps to put humans onto the Moon again and long-term, onto Mars. On July 12th (tentative) next year, as part of Project Constellation the Ares-I will mark her first sub-orbital flight. And just a short ten years later, hopefully by the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, we will have humans step back onto the face of the Moon again for the first time since 1972.

However, WE must make sure that our government, especially President-Elect Barack Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress, continue to strive to achieve this goal. Already even before he takes office, President-Elect Obama has asked NASA how much could be saved by cancelling Project Constellation. This cannot be allowed to happen so I urge everyone of you to call your representatives and express your concerns that Project Constellation not be cancelled or cutback. Not only will a cutback or cancellation be detrimental to the State of Florida but also to the United States of America as a space faring country and the entire human population as a whole.

You may remember it was during the Apollo 8 mission that the now infamous reading of Genesis occurred, “saving 1968″. Below is the transcript of that reading. Who will save 2008 and the many years to come?

We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

~ William Anders

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

~ Jim Lovell

And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 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.

~ Frank Borman