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Beyond Earthrise: Other Views from Apollo 8

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Apollo 8's iconic Earthrise. NASA

Apollo 8’s iconic Earthrise. NASA

“Earthrise” was taken 50 years ago this Christmas, and it’s one of the most — if not the most — iconic images of the 20th century. It’s the image that gave us the idea that we went to the Moon and discovered the Earth. But there are so many other firsts that Apollo 8 brought us, so I thought we ought to take a minute to look at some of the less celebrated but still absolutely incredible images from Apollo 8.  

 

 

But First, Who Took That Iconic Apollo 8 Earthrise Image?

A Brief History on the Mission

Launched on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 was the first time men – specifically astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders – went to the Moon. 

It wasn’t a mission NASA had originally planned for. The agency intended to launch missions of increasing difficulty flying in alphabetical order. The “A” was an unmanned launch of the Command and Service Module (CSM) on a Saturn V rocket in Earth orbit (that turned out to be Apollos 4 and 6). The “B” mission would repeat the same mission with a Lunar Module (LM) (Apollo 5). The “C” mission would be a manned A mission (Apollo 7), the “D” mission a manned B mission (Apollo 9), then the “E” mission would fly in a high elliptical orbit. The “F” mission would go to the Moon for a dress rehearsal (Apollo 10), and the “G” mission would try for a landing (that fell to Apollo 11).

Things didn’t go according to plan, in short, because the Lunar Module fell behind schedule. Apollo 8 was supposed to be a “D” mission, but without a Lunar Module still in development, that mission couldn’t fly. The solution was to make it a “C-prime” mission — fly to the Moon without a lunar module. Rather than go all that way just to swing around and come back, NASA decided to test the lunar orbital portion of the Apollo missions by putting Apollo 8 into orbit for 10  revolutions before coming home. 

So. Apollo 8 was the first to launch men on a Saturn V to the Moon, which meant it was the first time humans sea the Earth from the Moon, but also the first time we got a close-up view of the Moon. 

Apollo 8’s Less Common Images

Starting with the launch. This is admittedly a pretty commonly used image, but it’s gorgeous and also the first time men launched on the massive Saturn V rocket.

The first manned Saturn V launch. NASA.

The first manned Saturn V launch. NASA.

Humans had seen the Earth from space before Apollo 8, but the view never gets old.

The view just south of Florida. NASA.

The view just south of Florida. NASA.

Apollo 8 was marked the first time humans saw the Earth retreating, getting small and smaller as they got further away. And some of those mid-translunar coast images (aka from halfway along the trip to the Moon, are totally gorgeous. And my personal favourites? The pictures that aren’t perfectly framed. There’s something so human in this, like you can feel how rushed and excited the crew was to capture this amazing sight for the first time in human history.

 

Translunar flight of Apollo 8. NASA.

Translunar flight of Apollo 8. NASA.

Then, of course, Apollo 8 went into orbit around the Moon on December 24, and got the first up-close look at our satellite. This was one of the dozens upon dozens of pictures taken in lunar orbit.

The Moon. NASA.

The Moon. NASA.

Another view from lunar orbit that might look familiar is this one, a less perfectly framed image of the Earth rising over of the Moon’s horizon. Personally, this is my favourite. The whole Earth is there, but the bit of windowsill reminds you that this was taken by three pilots who scrambled to capture something awe-inspiring. There’s such a subtle human element here. (I have a similar shot from Apollo 11 framed on my wall signed by Mike Collins!)

The less famous Earthrise. NASA.

The less famous Earthrise. NASA.

Leaving the Moon, Apollo 8 got this incredible view of the Moon’s terminator, the line where lunar day fades to night. I mean, look at the detail in those craters!

Leaving the Moon. NASA.

Leaving the Moon. NASA.

This is a weird one but I sort of love it. A photography experiment had the crew photograph the Moon through coloured filters. It’s just a little eerie, but also awesome. (They also took some with a blue filter.)

Red Moon. NASA.

Red Moon. NASA.

A final one from the return home, the so-called transearth coast, is one of my favourites. Views of the receding Moon always make me sad. I know the crew was happy to be home and out of the everything-is-trying-to-kill-you environment of space, but I love the adventure of going there and get sad when it’s time to come home! With the bit of the windowsill in the shot, I love the reminder that it was people and not robots that went to the Moon.

Leaving the Moon. NASA.

Leaving the Moon. NASA.

Christmas Controversy

I can’t write about Apollo 8 without mentioning the Christmas controversy. On December 24, the crew did a live TV broadcast from the Moon and read from the book of Genesis. And people were outraged. And people are still outraged! For me personally, as someone who isn’t of any Christian faith but loves history, I look at it as an historical event, plain and simple, that’s worth remembering because it was the first time people went to the Moon. Here’s a recap of the reading and the resulting lawsuit in a couple of older videos.

Happy Apollo 8 anniversary, everyone! And if you’d like to get an in-depth look at the mission, I highly recommend Apollo 8 by Jeff Kluger — an incredible book by one of my writing inspirations.

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Ecology

Yukon and Northern BC First Nations tackle climate change using Indigenous knowledge and science

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YUKON, June 18, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is working together in partnership with Indigenous and Northern communities in finding solutions to adapt to the impacts of climate change in the North.

Today, Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal, along with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency), Larry Bagnell, highlighted progress on three unique, Indigenous-led projects that are helping communities in Yukon and Northern British Columbia adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

The Minister and Parliamentary Secretary met virtually with Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) to learn about their community-led climate change monitoring program. C/TFN has partnered with Tsay Keh Dene Nation (TKDN) and Chu Cho Environmental of Prince George, British Columbia, to build a community-led monitoring project that examines environmental data and Indigenous knowledge to create a holistic picture of how the climate is changing across C/TFN and TKDN traditional territories. The project combines tracking of current and historical climate trends with knowledge shared by Elders while also providing opportunities for youth mentorship and climate change awareness.

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) is also leading a unique project to assess the impacts of climate change within their traditional territory. Climate change is causing many of the culturally significant ice patches to melt, exposing organic artifacts to oxygen and leading to rapid deterioration. The TRTFN ice patch mapping project will involve performing archaeological assessments to prevent the degradation of artifacts. Research will be guided by traditional knowledge, Elders and oral histories, when available, and heavily involve community, Elders, youth and Knowledge Keepers.

The Pelly Crossing Selkirk Development Corporation is leading the Selkirk Wind Resource Assessment project through the installation of a Sonic Detection and Ranging (SODAR) system. The initiative includes a feasibility study leading up to the construction of a renewable energy facility, including wind, solar and battery energy storage. Expanding clean energy within the region will have direct benefits for communities, including reduced reliance on diesel, job creation and revenue generation for Selkirk First Nation. 

These projects are delivering important environmental, social and economic benefits that lead to healthier, more sustainable and resilient communities across Yukon and Northern British Columbia. They also build community clean energy capacity and help to avoid the impacts of climate change.

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Ecology

Atlantic Provinces Ready For Aquaculture Growth

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Aquaculture is an important economic driver for rural, coastal and Indigenous communities, and Atlantic Canada is well positioned to increase aquaculture production as global demand for sustainably sourced seafood grows.

That is why the ministers responsible for aquaculture in the Atlantic provinces have agreed to the ongoing development and management of their industries based on common principles. A new memorandum of understanding has been signed by the four ministers, which extends the previous agreement signed in 2008.

“In a time when food security is especially important, it is good to see our aquaculture industry has grown steadily and is poised for continued growth in 2021 based on environmentally responsible, science-based policies and practices,” said Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for Nova Scotia. “Our Atlantic partnership continues to help the industry grow sustainably.”

Cooperation between the provinces and the aquaculture industry has led to improvements in pest management, environmentally sustainable aquaculture methods, aquatic animal health and policies to support the shared use of marine and freshwater resources. It also aims to align regulation and policy between the provinces to make the regulatory requirements easier to understand by industry and the public.

Each province has a comprehensive and robust legislative and regulatory framework to ensure environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and public accountability. The provinces update their legislation and regulations regularly. Nova Scotia revamped its regulatory framework in 2015; New Brunswick received Royal Assent for a new Aquaculture Act in 2019 and is working on the supporting regulations; Newfoundland and Labrador completely revised its aquaculture policy in 2019; and Prince Edward Island has recently drafted a new Aquaculture Act.

The ministers have agreed to continue to use science-based evidence for management decisions, thereby increasing public and investor confidence in the Atlantic Canadian aquaculture industry.

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Ecology

COMING SOON: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy 2.0

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We all want the same thing: a clean and responsible energy future for our children and future generations while continuing to enjoy a high standard of living.

On December 11, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new climate plan which he claimed will help achieve Canada’s economic and environmental goals.

The proposed plan by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) entitled “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy” will have an initial investment of $15 billion of taxpayer’s money. It is built on 5 pillars of action:

  1) Making the Places Canadians Live and Gather More Affordable by Cutting Energy Waste

2) Making Clean, Affordable Transportation and Power Available in Every Community

3) Continuing to Ensure Pollution isn’t Free and Households Get More Money Back

4) Building Canada’s Clean Industrial Advantage

5) Embracing the Power of Nature to Support Healthier Families and More Resilient Communities  

In my paper, “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy 2.0” I will objectively critique each pillar in the government’s new climate plan and provide alternative solutions to the same issues.

  This is an alternative plan that supports workers, protects lower income earners and creates economic growth while respecting the environment and focusing on the dignity of work.

  This plan abandons virtue-signaling projects and relies on Canadian ingenuity to build our economy and restore Canada’s role of responsible leadership in the world.

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