Video courtesy of NASA
It had been a bad year for the United States. The U.S. was fighting the unpopular Vietnam War. Back on the home front, both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. Then, just before the end of the year NASA pulled ahead of Russia in the race to the Moon – and never looked back. As one person put it, the crew of Apollo 8, “…saved 1968.” Over four decades later, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has retraced the steps made by Apollo 8′s crew – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders.
The mission lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Dec 21, 1968. The mission is known generally by the public as the “Christmas at the Moon” mission. The crew read from the Bible’s Book of Genesis, inspiring hope among many (and engendering a lawsuit from an atheist).
LRO was launched on June 18, 2009 and monitored its partner spacecraft, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) as it impacted into the surface of the Moon. Part of the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program, LRO was the first NASA mission to the Moon in over a decade.
During the course of the spacecraft’s mission it has imaged all of the original Apollo landing sites, the Surveyor 1 landing site and has even discovered the location of the Soviet Lunokhod 1 rover.
In this video, the imagery of Apollo 8 and LRO merge into one with audio from the historic Apollo mission. Pausing at certain intervals to compare between old and new imagery – the video highlights NASA’s lunar accomplishments over the past four decades.