Apollo 8 Astronaut Dies in a Plane Crash

William Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut famed for the “Earthrise” photo, dies in a small plane crash at age 90 off the coast of Washington state.

William Anders, who captured the iconic “Earthrise” photo from space over 55 years ago, died in a plane crash on Friday at the age of 90, his family confirmed.

By NASA – NASA Image and Video Library, Public Domain

The Apollo 8 astronaut was piloting a small plane that crashed off the coast of Washington state on Friday morning. His son informed US media that Anders was the sole occupant of the aircraft.

Sheriff Eric Peter told AFP that search teams were combing the area but had yet to recover a body.

Apollo 8 Astronaut
By NASA/Bill Anders – Public Domain

As a member of the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968, Anders, alongside Frank Borman and James Lovell, became one of the first humans to reach the Moon. The crew orbited the Moon ten times without landing before safely returning to Earth on December 27, 1968.

During one of the lunar orbits, Anders took a photograph of Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon, a shot that has since been hailed as one of the most significant images ever taken. The “Earthrise” photo was included in Life Magazine’s book “100 Photographs that Changed The World,” and an original print sold at a Copenhagen auction in 2022 for 11,800 euros.

NASA chief Bill Nelson paid tribute to Anders, stating, “In 1968, during Apollo 8, Bill Anders offered humanity one of the deepest gifts an astronaut can give. He traveled to the threshold of the Moon and helped us all see ourselves. He embodied the lessons and purpose of exploration. We will miss him.”

Apollo 8 Astronaut
By NASA – Public Domain

Born on October 17, 1933, in Hong Kong, the Apollo 8 astronaut graduated from the US Naval Academy and later earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering. After his astronaut career, Anders held various technology-related government positions, including serving as the first chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and as the US ambassador to Norway.

In the early 1990s, William Anders became CEO and chairman of the US defense and aerospace company General Dynamics before retiring.

With Anders’ passing, James Lovell remains the last surviving member of the Apollo 8 crew. Frank Borman passed away in November 2023 at the age of 95. Lovell, now 96, also famously participated in the Apollo 13 mission, which was dramatized in a Hollywood film after a near-catastrophic attempt to land on the Moon

Written by DADADEL

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