Dec. 24, 1968 By almost any measure, 1968 was a lousy year. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, then Bobby Kennedy. Cities burned as the races rioted, and the Democratic Convention in Chicago exploded in violent demonstrations. But NASA had something in mind. The CIA had heard whispers that the Soviet Union was planning an imminent manned trip around the moon. In the 23 months since the Apollo 1 fire, NASA had managed only one manned flight Apollo 7 in October 1968, a snug, low-earth-orbit mission. Apollo 8 was slated to venture farther, out to a thousands-mile-high orbit that would allow the crew to practice high-speed re-entry. But NASA decided to roll the dice and send the crew out farther still all the way to the moon for a 10-orbit tour. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders left the earth on Dec. 21 and arrived at the moon on Christmas Eve. Broadcasting back home, they aimed their camera out the window at the lunar landscape rolling by below and read aloud from Genesis. If you didn't go misty at that, your heart wasn't beating.