Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders, Known for 'Earthrise' Photo, Dies in Plane Crash

Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders, famed for capturing the iconic 'Earthrise' photo, died in a plane crash. The crash occurred on Thursday, July 3, 2023, in California. Anders was 86 years old.

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Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders

Image: Apollo 8 Astronaut William Anders

William Anders, one of the three astronauts aboard the historic Apollo 8 mission in 1968, tragically passed away at the age of 87 after a plane crash. Anders, along with crewmates Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, embarked on a daring journey that marked several firsts for human space exploration.


Apollo 8 was the first crewed mission to orbit the Moon, paving the way for the subsequent lunar landings. It was also during this groundbreaking voyage that Anders captured one of the most iconic photographs in human history – the famous "Earthrise" image.

As the Apollo 8 spacecraft emerged from behind the Moon, Anders was struck by the breathtaking sight of the Earth rising above the lunar horizon. He quickly grabbed his camera and snapped a now-legendary photo that provided a stark and humbling perspective of our planet's fragility and isolation in the vast cosmic expanse.

The "Earthrise" photo has been credited with helping galvanize the environmental movement by offering a powerful visual representation of Earth's precious and finite nature. For many, it was a sobering reminder of our shared responsibility to protect our planet's delicate ecosystems.


Beyond his historic achievements as an astronaut, Anders was also a highly decorated U.S. Air Force officer, having served as a fighter pilot and nuclear integration officer before joining NASA's astronaut corps.

With Anders' passing, we have lost not only a pioneering explorer but also a visionary whose iconic image helped shape our collective consciousness about Earth's place in the universe. His legacy will endure as a testament to the boundless human spirit of exploration and our innate drive to understand our cosmic home.

As we reflect on Anders' life and contributions, let us honor his memory by continuing to push the frontiers of human knowledge while cherishing the fragile beauty of our planet Earth – a perspective he so poignantly captured from a quarter million miles away.

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