Christmas Evening 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 – Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders – had been about to get their first sight of the far side of the Moon.
However probably the most fascinating view got here as they swung back around on the fourth orbit and Anders saw the Earth within the command module window.
These cartridges containing reels of 70mm movie might be simply swapped on the crew’s Hasselblad cameras.
As soon as the movie was developed back on Earth a number of weeks later, Nasa picture 2383 (and the frames either side) would turn into some of the well-known footage of all time.
The image, displaying the Earth within the context of the barren Moon, was one of many surprising achievements of the Apollo program.
In the run-up to the Apollo missions, there was great resistance among many Nasa engineers and astronauts to the concept of carrying TV cameras for live broadcasts from the space. It was frivolous and would intervene with the mission, they argued.
The formidable head of mission control, Chris Kraft, thought otherwise and insisted that TV was a method of displaying American taxpayers how their money was being spent. The first astronauts to hold a TV digital camera into orbit were the team of Apollo 7 –Don Eisele, Wally Schirra, and Walt Cunningham. After a trembling start, they quickly bought the hang of adding showbiz slightly to the space program.