William Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut who took famous ‘Earthrise’ photo, dies in plane crash at 90

William Anders, an astronaut who was one of the first three people to orbit the Moon and who took the famous “Earthrise” photo, died Friday after a small plane he was in crashed into the water north of Seattle, according to NASA, local officials and his family. He was 90 years old.

The Coast Guard Pacific Northwest said shortly before 1 p.m. local time that it and the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office were responding to a plane crash between Orcas and Jones Islands, located about 80 miles north of Seattle.

The sheriff’s office said only the pilot was in the two-seater plane. A body was found and the identity of the pilot recovered, the press release said.

Anders’ son, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Greg Anders, confirmed the death to The Associated Press.

“The family is devastated,” Greg Anders said, according to the news agency. “He was a great pilot and will be missed terribly.”

Senator Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator, offered his condolences.

“In 1968, during Apollo 8, Bill Anders gave humanity one of the most precious gifts an astronaut could give. He traveled to the edge of the Moon and helped us all to see something else: ourselves. He embodied the lessons and purpose of exploration,” Nelson said. written the.

The first report of the plane crash came into the San Juan Sheriff’s Office dispatch center around 11:40 a.m. Friday, Sheriff Eric Peter said, and authorities responded. The report stated that an older model plane was flying from north to south, entered the water and sank.

A woman who answered a phone number listed for Nelson, but did not give her name, said the astronaut was believed to have been on the plane and declined further comment.

The Apollo 8 crew in front of a simulator, 1968. Artist: NASA (Print Collector file/Getty Images)

The Apollo 8 mission was launched 55 years ago, on December 21, 1968, to circle the Moon and return to Earth in preparation for the Apollo 11 moon landing the following year.

Anders was a lunar module pilot on the Apollo 8 mission. Also present on the mission Frank Bormanwho was the commander, and James Lovell Jr. The mission proved the command and service module.

Anders took the famous photo “Earthrise” which showed our world with the lunar horizon in the foreground.

Image: Earthrise (Bill Anders / NASA file)

The “Earthrise” photo was an unexpected surprise. Anders’ main task during the Moon’s orbit was to take photos of the lunar surface.

On the third pass, they saw the Earth rising above the horizon.

“Oh my God! Look at that picture over there,” he said during the space mission. There’s the Earth showing up. Wow, that’s pretty.

Borman, the commander, joked that he shouldn’t take the photo because it wasn’t on the flight plan.

“When the Earth came above the lunar horizon, that’s when I was really impressed by how much more delicate and colorful the Earth was,” Anders said in a statement . interview on the show “TODAY” in 2018 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary…

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