NASA has issued a new visualization of the events leading to one of the iconic photographs of the 20th Century – Earth rising over the moon captured by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission.
The photo known as Earthrise is the first color photograph of Earth taken by a person in lunar orbit. Earthrise is the cover photo of TIME’s Great Images of the 20th Century, and is the central photo on the cover of LIFE’s 100 Photographs That Changed the World.
“Earthrise had a profound impact on our attitudes toward our home planet, quickly becoming an icon of the environmental movement,” says Ernie Wright, project lead with the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
The visualization clearly shows how Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and crew members William A. Anders and James A. Lovell worked together to photograph the stunning scene as their spacecraft orbited the moon on Dec. 24, 1968. The video allows anyone to virtually ride with the astronauts and experience the awe they felt at the vista in front of them.
The new computer-generated visualization was created using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft and includes more details than the previous visualization.