Space seasons greeting
As we recall every year, in response to the Christmas message from Apollo 8 (MP3) beamed to the planet by astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and William A. Anders, as they orbited the moon in 1968 (reading from Genesis), Houston sent this reply:
Twas the night before Christmas and way out in space,
the Apollo 8 crew had just won the moon race.
The headsets were hung by the consoles with care,
in hopes that Chris Kraft soon would be there.
Frank Borman was nestled all snug in his bed,
while visions of REFSMMAT's danced in his head;
and Jim Lovell, in his couch, and Anders, in the bay,
were racking their brains over a computer display.
When out of the DSKY, there arose such a clatter,
Frank sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the sextant he flew like a flash,
to make sure they weren't going to crash.
The light on the breast of the moon's jagged crust
gave a luster of green cheeses to the gray lunar dust.
When what to his wondering eyes should appear,
but a Burma Shave sign saying 'Kilroy was here.'
But Frank was no fool. He knew pretty quick
that they had been first; this must be a trick.
More rapid than rockets, his curses they came.
He turned to his crewmen and called them by name.
Now Lovell, now Anders, now don't think I'd fall
for an old joke you've written up the wall.
They spoke not a word, but grinning like elves,
and laughed at their joke in spite of themselves.
Frank sprang to his couch, to the ship gave a thrust,
and away they all flew past the gray lunar dust.
But we heard them explain ere they flew around the moon:
'Merry Christmas to earth; we will be back there real soon.'
Joys of the season from Space Law Probe! ;)
UPDATE: Just caught up with Clark's post from yesterday, Remembering Apollo 8, in which he links to Rob Coppinger's post on the Christmas Eve broadcast, along with a lovely poem by Major Michael A. Titre via Chair Force Engineer ("...With crew aboard and countdown done, Her engines roar in unison, Man's greatest venture has begun....") Yes.