As I was stitching on it I was thinking about the moon and I wonder if children are taught these days about how we always see the same side of the moon as it orbits. When I was a child a lot was made of the fact that we had only ever seen one side of the moon and the other side was unknown territory. It was a little mysterious and shivery to imagine what might be on "the dark side of the moon." Then we sent astronauts out into space and they circled the moon and the mystery was solved. The back looked, I think, pretty much like the front.
I remember when the Apollo 8 mission circled the moon. It was Christmas Eve, 1968. My family was going to Christmas Eve services at the Pocatello First Methodist Church and listening to coverage on the radio in the car on the way to the church. Just as we arrived in the parking lot we heard that the spacecraft had passed behind the moon. It would take, as I recall, about 20 minutes for it to emerge around the opposite side and in that time communication would be cut off because the moon would be blocking radio transmissions. Late in the service I saw my parents have a brief, whispered discussion and my Dad quietly slipped out of the pew and disappeared out the back door. He came back a few minutes later and gave Mom a discreet "thumbs up" sign. He just had to make sure the spacecraft had made the trip around the moon and was safely headed home, so he slipped out to the car and listened to the report on the radio. It was the next summer that Americans set foot on the moon. I wonder if the moon missions in my youth account for my fascination. I remember looking up at the moon in 1969 and trying to imagine people walking there.
It's probably hard for younger people to imagine what that was like to have that knowledge for the first time in human history. It was on that same Christmas Eve Apollo mission that this photo of the earth, with the surface of the moon in the foreground, was taken. It was the first time humans had ever seen our planet from space. As many times as I've seen it, this photo still just knocks me out.