June 23, 2024

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Bill Anders, the astronaut with the most famous photo on Earth, died in a plane crash

Bill Anders, the astronaut with the most famous photo on Earth, died in a plane crash

Astronaut William Anders (Hong Kong, 1933) He died at the age of 90, following an accident in the small plane he was traveling in. This former United States Air Force officer entered NASA history through his formation Part of Apollo 8, the first mission to orbit the Earth and the Moon, along with Frank Borman (He died in November 2023) and Jim Lovell (Apollo 13 mission commander and immortalized in cinema before Tom Hanks In the film about that process)

Anders was the first man to share with the world a picture of the Earth from the outside. This was the first image of the planet seen from lunar orbit, and an iconic shot that became a symbol of hope: the Earth above the lunar horizon, at dawn, christened as “Earthrise”.

“In 1968, during Apollo 8, Bill Anders gave humanity one of the most profound gifts an astronaut can give. He traveled to the moon’s doorstep and helped us all see something else: ourselves. He embodied the lessons and purpose of exploration. “He will be missed,” Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA administrator, wrote in a letter

The circumstances of the accident that claimed the life of Anders (90 years old) are still unclear. According to CNN, the US Coast Guard and San Juan Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call after an accident between Orcas Island and Johns Island in Washington state. Some neighbors saw how an “old-looking plane” fell and sank into the water.

According to the Associated Press, the small Beechcraft T-34 Mentor plane, owned by Anders, was the one that was supposed to have been He was driving himself.

Various photos of William Anders during his career as an astronaut
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The first man to see the dawn of the Earth and end up as a nuclear leader

NASA’s historic second manned mission, Apollo 8, was a near-decisive step in this historic space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. Flight of the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin On Vostok 1 in 1961, which saw humans reach the outer limits of planet Earth for the first time in history, it required a coup by the Americans.

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As the country continued to emerge from the war due to its entry into the Vietnam War, she inherited the country’s troubled presidency Lyndon B. Johnson After being killed john f. Kennedy And the last arrival of Richard Nixon To the White House, the Apollo 8 mission represented a huge Cold War media blow for the Western bloc. There, Anders’s image was of great importance: she was able to give the Republican president an image that Moscow dreamed of.

Beyond its geopolitical implications, Earthrise, a photo taken on Christmas Eve 1968, was the first great image to show that man was capable of overcoming limits never seen before.

“When the Earth appeared above the lunar horizon, that’s when I was really amazed by how delicate and colorful it was,” he recalled in an interview with the Today Show in 2018, where he also recalled the risk he took. Task: He stated that he had One in three chance of not surviving.

Not only did he do that, but his post-mission career led him to be an officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, the US Atomic Energy Commission and chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission. United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Under the presidency of Gerald Ford. His relationship with Nuclear Energy It served him well to be one of the first men at NASA responsible for the environmental control systems of manned capsules, the effects of space radiation and designing a way to reduce its danger.

At the end of the seventies, he moved to the private sector General ElectricWhere he became Vice President and General Manager of the company Nuclear productsHe later joined the Textron conglomerate to become president of Textron General dynamics Since 1991 and 1994 when he retired.

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He left six children, four boys and two girls.