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Former Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders, Who Captured Iconic ‘Earthrise’ Photo, Dies in Plane Crash

William Anders

Retired Major General William Anders, a distinguished astronaut and one of the crew members of the historic Apollo 8 mission, tragically lost his life in a plane crash. The incident occurred when the small aircraft he was piloting plummeted into the waters off the San Juan Islands in Washington state. He was 90 years old.

William Anders is best known for capturing the iconic “Earthrise” photograph during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968. This remarkable image shows our planet as a shadowed blue marble rising above the lunar horizon. It remains a powerful symbol of Earth’s fragility and beauty when seen from space.

Earthrise Photo by William Anders

The Apollo 8 mission, led by Commander Frank Borman, also included astronauts James Lovell Jr. and William Anders. They became the first humans to orbit the Moon, paving the way for subsequent lunar missions. During their historic journey, Anders snapped the Earthrise photo, capturing the awe-inspiring view of our planet against the stark lunar landscape.

This image, captured as the crew emerged from the lunar backside of the Moon, showed the Earth as a vibrant blue marble suspended in the blackness of space. The photo’s profound beauty and stark portrayal of our planet’s fragility is credited with inspiring the environmental movement. William Anders himself later called it his most significant contribution to the space program.

William Anders had a distinguished career as an astronaut and military officer. He served as the Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 8 and later contributed to the success of subsequent Apollo missions. His legacy extends beyond space exploration, as he played a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of the cosmos.

The loss of William Anders is deeply felt by the scientific community and space enthusiasts worldwide. His contributions to space exploration and his ability to inspire wonder through his photography will forever be remembered. William Anders’ passing marks the end of an era for space exploration.

Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time. May his memory continue to inspire future generations to reach for the stars.

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