On this day in 1968, the crew of the Apollo 8 spacecraft returned to a course for Earth after orbiting the moon 10 times over 20 hours. They were the first humans to ever leave our planet’s orbit, and the first to ever see the Earth as an entire planet. On Christmas Eve, the crew had taken the iconic “Earth rise” picture and read the first 10 verses from the book of Genesis over a live television broadcast. When Commander Frank Borman signed off, he said: “We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless you all — all of you on the good Earth.”
From today’s edition of The Writer’s Almanac.