Moon-landing-was-a-hoax crowd will love this NASA video

Visualization depicts first photographs of Earth rising over the moon

Don't get me wrong: NASA didn't do anything underhanded here; in fact, this video showing a "visualization" of the first time humans photographed the Earth rising over the moon is really cool.

But some people are going to get the wrong idea. Watch:

What's to misunderstand?

Well, the first time I watched the clip on YouTube - without first reading the description notes underneath - I assumed a couple of things that turned out not to be not true or not entirely true: First, I assumed that the images were taken from the surface of the moon. Not true. And, I assumed that the images of the Earth were taken by astronauts. At least not entirely true.

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Here's the description from NASA (and keep in mind that it appears only on YouTube, not the many other sites that will inevitably embed this video):

On December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and crew members William A. Anders and James A. Lovell, Jr. became the first humans to photograph the Earth rising over the moon. Now, the rest of us can see what it was like in a new NASA visualization that draws on richly detailed maps of the moon's surface made from data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter!

The narration in this visualization comes from the original audio recording of the Apollo 8 astronauts. The flight time has been compressed for effect. The Earth in this visualization is not an exact duplication of what the astronauts saw but a mosaic of more recent images taken by Earth-observing satellites. Representative clouds were then layered on top of the mosaic.

Now my misconception about the vantage point being on the moon was my fault; of course I know that it was Apollo 11 that first landed on the moon - not Apollo 8 -- and that it happened in 1969, not 1968 (I'm old enough to remember). But the "8" and the 1968 hadn't registered because I was casually watching and listening, not reading ... and I suspect others will do the same.

As for the Earth images, well, I was certainly surprised to learn that they were not the real deal, and from reading the YouTube description it still wasn't clear to me whether the use of a "mosaic" meant that the actual photos taken from Apollo 8 did not appear at all, or whether they are indeed there in the "framed" portions at the 0.20 and 0.32 marks, and it's the rest of the Earth shots that are stand-ins.

NASA offers a more detailed explanation of what the video depicts and how it was made on this page, but even after reading it four times I'm still not 100 percent sure if the original photos are in the mosaic or not. My best guess is that they are not, although the use of the "picture frames" and real 1968 timestamp labeling in the "visualization" could certainly leave a casual viewer with that impression.

Those who believe the moon landing was a hoax will just smirk.

(h/t Keith Shaw, IT World)

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