Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders dies in plane crash aged 90

Former US astronaut William Anders, who was part of the Apollo 8 mission which saw the first crew orbit the moon in 1968, has died in a plane crash north-west of Seattle. IANS

Washington, June 8 (IANS/DPA) Former US astronaut William Anders, who was part of the Apollo 8 mission which saw the first crew orbit the moon in 1968, has died in a plane crash north-west of Seattle, US media reported on Friday citing his son.

Anders was 90 years old.

He was flying alone in a small aircraft when it went down off the coast of Washington state, according to the reports. Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the crash.

During the Apollo 8 mission, Anders took the famous Earthrise photo which depicts the moon with the Earth “rising” in space in the background. The image has been credited with changing human perception of the planet and became a symbol for Earth’s fragility. Some even consider it to be the origin of today’s environmental movements.

“Anders offered to humanity among the deepest of gifts an astronaut can give,” NASA chief Bill Nelson wrote on X.

“He traveled to the threshold of the Moon and helped all of us see something else: ourselves. He embodied the lessons and the purpose of exploration. We will miss him.”

Following his NASA career, Anders served as US presidential adviser and US ambassador. He also worked for different nuclear energy and aviation companies, among others.

Most recently, Anders lived on the San Juan Islands off Washington state on the US north-west coast. He was married and had six children.

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