Smithsonian, NASA Reflect on 'Spirit of Apollo' at National Cathedral

Space.com | 12/12/2018 | Staff
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Standing beneath a stained glass window embedded with a piece of the moon, Jim Lovell recalled his journey into lunar orbit 50 years ago.

"In this cathedral, my world exists within these walls," said Lovell. "But seeing the Earth at 240,000 miles, my world suddenly expanded to infinity."

Dec - NASA - Pioneer - Spacecraft - Mission

On Dec. 12, 1967, NASA launched the Pioneer 8 spacecraft on a mission to study the sun. Pioneer 8 was the third in a series of solar-orbiting satellites that NASA launched to observe things like the solar wind, the sun's magnetic fields and cosmic rays, or high-energy particles from outside the solar system. The Pioneer missions provided the world's first network of satellites that could monitor space weather and solar storms, which can cause amazing auroras on Earth, but can also cause some problems. Space weather events can scramble satellite communication systems on Earth and even damage power grids.

Lovell joined the director of the National Air and Space Museum, Ellen Stofan, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in commemorating the Apollo 8 mission, which famously included a Christmas Eve reading from the Book of Genesis live from lunar orbit.

Surprises - Moon - Story - Creation - Christmas

"Apollo 8 was full of surprises. We knew we were going to the moon. But hearing the story of creation beaming down to us on Christmas Eve, even the steely-eyed flight directors in Mission Control wept," said Stofan. "Some of our bravest pilots and sailors, riding atop repurposed weapons of war, delivered a message of peace for all humankind. That was the spirit of Apollo."

Lovell, together with Frank Borman and Bill Anders, were the first people to see the far side of the moon with their own eyes. They were also the first to witness "Earthrise," the sight of our planet emerging from behind the lunar surface.

Spirit - Apollo - Event - National - Cathedral

Prior to attending "The Spirit of Apollo" event at National Cathedral...
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