Forty-seven years ago tonight, December 24th, the three astronauts from the Apollo 8 mission to the moon were approaching the lunar sunrise. Yes, it was Christmas Eve. In the United States, it was nighttime. It was 1968.
We tend to think of myth as a lie or as an outdated explanation for a mystery long since cleared up by science. But as a host of mythologists, writers and storytellers have observed, myth is actually a framework of meaning.
Mars has been restored to the reachable horizons of human spaceflight. Millionaire financier and engineer Dennis Tito has announced a plan to launch a middle-aged married couple on a flyby mission to the planet in early January 2018, returning them to Earth a year and a half later.
On December 21, 1968, the Apollo 8 spaceship blasted its way through the earth's atmosphere to begin the first U.S. mission to orbit the moon. During the ninth lunar revolution, the astronauts read the story of creation from the Bible.
"As I stepped up onto the ladder, I looked back at Earth in all its splendor -- I call it sitting on God's front porch looking home -- then down at my last footprint and realized, 'Hey, I'm not coming this way again.'"