On the social impact of the Apollo 8 Earthrise photo, or the lack of it?



In this article, the various forms of contemporary news reports are explored of the Apollo 8 Earthrise pictures and whole Earth images photographed by the astronauts. Already during this flight to the Moon, that took place at the end of December of 1968, remarkable differences in perceptions, emotions, and interpretations emerged between the United States and Western Europe and, more likely than not, the rest of the world as well, concerning the Earth and humanity’s place on it. Furthermore, it appears that within both continents a considerable portion of the population was hardly affected by these pictures, if at all. These differences in perceptions have evolved over the past fifty years, while many of them continue to exist today. All of this will be examined in some detail with emphasis on what happened during and right after the flight of Apollo 8.