Earthrise from Apollo 8 , December 24th 1968...

Earthrise from Apollo 8 , December 24th 1968…

In the beginning, Apollo 8, the second manned mission of the Apollo program, took astronauts farther than anyone had gone before and showed humanity just how small and special our planet is. During their seven-day flight in December 1968, the three-man crew of Borman, Lovell, and Anders, became the first people to orbit another world. Awed by the sight of Earth rising over the moon’s horizon, they took one of the most iconic photographs in history.

Christmas Eve at the moon

Placing the Apollo spacecraft in orbit was not an easy task, and compounding the difficulty, the engine “burn” to put it in the right spot had to happen while the spacecraft was out of contact with Earth, on the far side of the moon. But they made it.

The astronauts stared in awe at the landscape below. (At least, Lovell and Anders did, while Borman was reportedly more concerned about setting themselves up to head home.) But one thing that did take them all by surprise was the majesty of the Earth rising above the moon.

Anders decided to take an unscheduled photo op. The resulting earthrise photo, showing our delicate planet surrounded by blackness, is credited as one of the most impressive pics of all time.

On Christmas Eve, the crew had the chance to share their impressions with others via a public broadcast captured in the video below in which all three astronauts invoked the word of God from the beginning of the Bible. Borman called the moon a “vast, lonely, forbidding type of existence,” while Lovell paid tribute to the Earth’s “grand ovation to the vastness of space.” Then the crew read Genesis, reciting the Biblical story of how Earth came to be. Here is the Christmas Eve message sent from Apollo 8, read by all three of the astronauts …

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

All that was left now was to come home. Mission controllers waited anxiously Christmas morning as the crew turned their engine on again on the far side of the moon. As they re-emerged, Lovell called out, “Please be informed there is a Santa Claus,” signalling they were headed back to Earth. The crew landed successfully Dec. 28, 1968.


The “Carbon Footprint” of the Central America Volcanic Arc.


The view was worth the trip…

In the beginning, battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala – while carrying sensitive camera equipment – was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28, 2015. Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further in the distance, as well as the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy situated horizontally overhead. Click here for enlargement …  APOD: 2015 April 13

Iceland’s Volcanic Pollution Dwarfs All of Europe’s Human Emissions

In the beginning, to demonise element number six in the periodic table is amusing. Why not promethium? Carbon dioxide is an odourless, colourless, harmless natural gas. It is plant food. Without carbon, there would be no life on Earth.

The original source of atmospheric CO2 is volcanoes. The Earth’s early atmosphere had a thousand times the CO2 of today’s atmosphere. This CO2 was recycled through rocks, life and the oceans. Through time, this CO2 has been sequestered into plants, coal, petroleum, minerals and carbonate rocks, resulting in a decrease in atmospheric CO2.

The atmosphere now contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon as CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and limestone 65,000,000 billion tonnes. The atmosphere contains only 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth. Deeper in Earth, there are huge volumes of CO2 yet to be leaked into the atmosphere. So depleted is the atmosphere in CO2, that horticulturalists pump warm CO2 into glasshouses to accelerate plant growth.

Our planet has about 1,000 volcanoes on land, such as Holuhraun and Bardarbunga, but most of our volcanoes are under the sea. “Some 85 per cent of volcanoes are unseen and unmeasured yet these heat the oceans and add monstrous amounts of CO2 to the oceans,” notes Dr. Plimer. “Why have these been ignored?,” he asks. Full report right here … Iceland’s Volcanic Pollution Dwarfs All of Europe’s Human Emissions

In the beginning, The Pride of Man…

Pride Of Man | Gordon Lightfoot

Turn around, go back down, go back the way you came
Can’t you see the flash of fire ten times brighter than the day
And behold the mighty city broken in the dust again
Oh God the pride of man broken in the dust again

Turn around go back down go back the way you came
Babylon is laid to waste Egypt’s buried in her shame
Their mighty men are beaten down the kings are fallen in the ways
Oh God the pride of man broken in the dust again

Turn around, go back down, back the way you came
Terror is on every side, though the leaders are dismayed
Those who put their faith in fire, in fire their faith shall be repaid
Oh God, the pride of man, broken in the dust again

Turn around, go back down, back the way you came
Shout a warning to the nations that the sword of God is raised
On Babylon that mighty city, rich in treasure, wide in fame
It shall cause thy tower to fall and make it be a pyre of flame
Oh God, the pride of man, broken in the dust again

Oh thou that dwell on many waters, rich in treasure, wide in fame
Bow unto a god of gold, thy pride of might shall be thy shame
Oh God, the pride of man, broken in the dust again

And only God can lead the people back into the earth again
Thy holy mountain be restored, thy mercy on thy people Lord…

In the beginning … Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. Maranatha. In Him!!

Face of Jesus by Richard Hook

Soli Deo Gloria!

h/t NASA; Gerard Vanderleun/American Digest; Gordon Lightfoot; personal archives…