Apollo 8 ‘Earthrise’ 50th Anniversary at Air & Space Museum

Valerie and Bill Anders -- San Diego's true space power couple -- take center stage at the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8 celebration.

More than 350 guests were treated to a truly unique and special evening at the San Diego Air & Space Museum on Dec. 20 during the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8, the first-ever manned mission to the Moon, and the resulting iconic ‘Earthrise’ photo taken by astronaut Bill Anders

Bill and Valerie Anders and their entire extended family graciously shared their stories and experiences with the guests, who were treated to a behind-the-scenes look into one of America’s most iconic families.

“For any Apollo-era enthusiast, or for any space fan period, the Apollo 8 ‘Earthrise’ 50th Anniversary was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the story behind one of history’s most celebrated photographs,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Anyone who has ever seen ‘Earthrise’ knows how important this photo is to the understanding of the true nature of our planet. We are extremely grateful to Bill and Valarie Anders and their entire family for sharing this special evening with our guests.”


Apollo 8 was just the second manned spaceflight in the Apollo program. The three-astronaut crew — Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders — became the first humans to fly atop the massive Saturn V; travel beyond low Earth orbit; see Earth as a whole planet; enter the gravity of and orbit another celestial body; see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes; witness an Earthrise; escape the gravity of another celestial body; and re-enter Earth’s gravity.

The 50th Anniversary of this mission also celebrated the honor of the naming of the ‘Anders’ Earthrise’ crater. Robert Craddock, Geologist, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, provided a fascinating history of lunar nomenclature beginning with the first Soviet flyby and ending with the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announcement of the new named craters in the ‘Earthrise’ photography.

The Apollo 8 celebration officially kicked off a string of Apollo commemorations set to take place over the next couple of years. Next up, an evening with the entire crew of Apollo 9, set for March 13, 2019 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. For more information, visit here.

The 50th Anniversary Celebration of Apollo 9 is set for March 13, 2019 at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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