Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

A Moon With a View

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This weekend the Seattle Times published a lovely interview with Bill Anders, one of the Apollo astronauts. The article is full of interesting little tidbits, but I was most taken with his description of taking photos while his capsule orbited the moon:

While he had been meticulously trained to photograph the moon, making pretty pictures of the Earth from space had not occurred to anyone at NASA. So Anders, with no light meter and really no idea where to start, improvised. "I had to bracket (the exposure)," he says. "I'm just going click-click-click-click-click, just changing that f-stop up and back. I machine-gunned that mother."

The resulting picture was one of the most famous from the Apollo program -- the classic NASA "Earthshine" photo. Which, the article reveals, has actually been "printed backwards for more than 40 years because of a NASA mistake". There is also the always jaw dropping glimpse into the mindset of the first generation of astronauts:

"I figured there were three possibilities, about equally weighted," Anders says with the sort of casual tone most people would use to describe a choice of sandwich meat. "One, we could go and have a successful mission — one-third chance — which is what happened. Or, we could go, survive and not have a successful mission — that's Apollo 13. Or, we could go and we wouldn't come back; splat somewhere." Anders' assessment: "Pretty good odds."

There are many more gems in the article, so definitely worth a read.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In