The Western Lines

December 21, 2008

Apollo 8’s Message of Hope

Filed under: Alex Michael Bonnici — ralphbuttigieg @ 8:19 am

Seasons Greetings December 21st – 27th, 2008

To Our Dear Readers,

Today Marks the fortieth anniversary of the launching of Apollo 8 on its epic voyage to the Moon. This mission will forever be remembered because of the crew of Apollo 8’s historical and inspiring Christmas Message from the orbit of the Moon. So on behalf of my fellow writers Dennis Chamberland and Ralph Buttigieg I would like to wish you all:

Warm Wishes To You And Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season And Best Wishes For A Prosperous New Year! May We All Find Prosperity and Peace in Our Planetary Home The Good Earth and Amongst The Stars!

On Christmas Eve, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission, Astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and William A. Anders, beamed home this holiday message as they orbited the moon (approximately 240,000 miles above the earth).

1968 was a very turbulent and tumultuous year marred by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and the ongoing war in Vietnam. For many of us alive back then it appeared that Armageddon was just over the horizon. The flight of Apollo 8 symbolised a brief glimmer of hope in that otherwise violent year when society looked like it was on the brink of disintegration. I was a mere lad of seven at the time. But, the chaos of that year was brought home to me when I saw from my family’s living room window of our apartment on the fourth floor a very violent anti war protest. I will never forget the scene of police in riot gear clashing with student protesters near Saint Mark’s Place and Second Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side.

To mark the fortieth anniversary of humankind’s first venture beyond the bounds of our mother the Earth we have four video features dedicated to our readers to mark the occasion:

The Awe Inspiring and Hope filled Christmas Message of the crew of Apollo 8 from Lunar Orbit

Moon Machines – Saturn V

This episode of MOON MACHINES immerses viewers in the incredible story of the mighty Saturn V moon rocket — technology that joined the vision of World War II German rocket scientists with that of a generation of young, dedicated
engineers from across the United States. With the backdrop of Russia’s Sputnik launch and President Kennedy’s ambitious commitment to reaching the moon, engineers and scientists would produce a 363-foot-tall rocket with more than one million working parts that delivered 7.5 million pounds of thrust. Saturn V was so large that even those who built it were amazed and could hardly believe its power.

Moon Machines – The Navigation Computer

With computer software not yet invented and computing power less than a fraction of what is found in today’s handheld devices, the challenge of navigating a 250,000-mile round trip to the moon during the 1960s was daunting. This episode examines how an elite group of scientists met the challenges of creating a spacecraft with an infallible navigation system and a sophisticated computer with detailed programs.

Here is a song from the period that conveys our sentiments to our dear readers.


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