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Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders, who took Earthrise photo, dead

Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders dies in plane crash. Known for iconic "Earthrise" photo. Legacy honored by NASA chief and fans.

William Anders, a retired astronaut known for capturing the iconic "Earthrise" photo during NASA's Apollo 8 mission in 1968, passed away at the age of 90 in a tragic plane crash in Washington state. Anders, who co-founded the Heritage Flight Museum, was piloting a vintage Air Force plane when it crashed off the coast of Jones Island.

Anders, a US Naval Academy graduate and Air Force pilot, joined NASA in 1963 and flew on the historic Apollo 8 mission in December 1968. Alongside Frank Borman and James Lovell, Anders became one of the first humans to travel to the moon, capturing breathtaking images of the lunar surface and the Earth rising over the horizon.

The mission, originally scheduled for 1969, was expedited due to concerns about the Soviet Union's space program. Despite the risks involved, the crew successfully orbited the moon, transmitting images back to Earth that captivated a global audience.

Anders' photograph of the Earth rising over the moon became a symbol of the environmental movement, showcasing the planet's beauty and fragility in the vastness of space. The crew's reading from the Book of Genesis during the mission further solidified their place in history as national heroes.

After Apollo 8, Anders continued to serve in various roles, including as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and ambassador to Norway. He dedicated his later years to philanthropic work and environmental causes, leaving behind a legacy of exploration and discovery.

In the decades following the mission, Anders, along with his fellow Apollo 8 crew members, celebrated the anniversary of their historic journey, reflecting on their contributions to space exploration and the impact of their mission on a tumultuous year in American history.

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