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Apollo 8 astronaut marks 1968 broadcast to Earth

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CHICAGO (AP) -- An astronaut who was aboard the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon is marking the mission's 45th anniversary in front of a piece of the actual spacecraft.

Retired Captain James Lovell Jr. re-enacted the Apollo 8's live Christmas Eve broadcast from 1968. During that broadcast, astronauts read verses of Genesis from the Bible.

On Monday, Lovell and several high school students took turns reading in front of an Apollo 8 module that's housed at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

Lovell says they chose Genesis because it's central to three major world religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

According to NASA, millions tuned in during the original broadcast.

Lovell was a command module pilot on Apollo 8 and went on to be commander of Apollo 13.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

An Apollo 8 astronaut who was among the first to orbit the moon is set to help re-enact the 1968 Christmastime broadcast from space

Millions tuned in on Dec. 24, 1968, when Commander Frank Borman, Bill Anders and James Lovell took turns reading from the Book of Genesis as the Apollo 8 orbited the moon.

Lovell is expected to attend Monday's event at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, where the original Apollo 8 Command Module is.

The crew circled the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve, according to NASA. The famous "Earthrise" photo was taken during the same mission.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to attend Monday's event marking the 45th anniversary of the broadcast.

"The world needed an uplifting message in 1968 and the heroic Apollo 8 astronauts delivered," Quinn said in a statement ahead of the event.

Lovell took part in several missions, including as pilot in the Gemini 7 flight in 1965, a command module pilot on Apollo 8 and a commander of Apollo 13.

The Apollo 8 mission happened the year before U.S. astronauts walked on the moon.

 

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