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Holiday Special - The Apollo 8 Mission and Our Place in the Universe

This special holiday podcast features an interview with NASA historian Bill Barry who explains how the Apollo 8 mission showed how the pursuit of space can be a unifying force in a divided world.


The clock was ticking in 1968, and the race to the Moon was on. The Apollo 8 mission, which came about by accident as NASA was finalizing tests on weight and vehicle performance, sent a crew to the Moon to see if humans could fly safely on the Saturn V rocket. They did, and one of the most amazing takeaways of the mission—aside from the safe return of the astronauts—was the famous Earthrise photo taken on Christmas Eve and the unexpected lesson it taught us: our place in the Universe. NASA historian Dr. Bill Barry says that the “barren, lifeless terrain of the Moon, set against a black sky with nothing out there, and this one little blue and white dot that’s our planet, impacted our perspective of Earth, humanity, and our shared future.” That photo, along with the astronauts reading from the first book of Genesis, is a testament to how space exploration inspires people to do their best, be creative, and work together in a positive way.

Want to learn more about how the APOLLO missions changed the world? Stop by our APOLLO exhibit, which closes on January 2, 2019, and then mark your calendars for the opening of Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission in April 2019, which features the original Command Module that landed on the Moon. 


Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission is an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This traveling exhibit comes to our Museum in 2019.


Host: Sean Mobley

Producer: Keny Dutton

Web Master: Layne Benofsky

Content Marketing Manager: Irene Jagla


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