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Home Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Possible future technology like solar gravitational lensing may give us pictures of other worlds detailed enough to reveal continents and oceans, like this photo of Earth. (NASA) Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Possible future technology like solar gravitational lensing may give us pictures of other worlds detailed enough to reveal continents and oceans, like this photo of Earth. (NASA)

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Possible future technology like solar gravitational lensing may give us pictures of other worlds detailed enough to reveal continents and oceans, like this photo of Earth. (NASA)

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Possible future technology like solar gravitational lensing may give us pictures of other worlds detailed enough to reveal continents and oceans, like this photo of Earth. (NASA)

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Possible future technology like solar gravitational lensing may give us pictures of other worlds detailed enough to reveal continents and oceans, like this photo of Earth. (NASA)

An annotated illustration of the interstellar medium. The solar gravity lens marks the point where a conceptual spacecraft in interstellar space could use our sun as a gigantic lens, allowing zoomed-in close-ups of planets orbiting other stars. (Charles Carter/Keck Institute for Space Studies)
The first blooming zinnia flower in the Veggie plant growth system aboard the International Space Station. Growing food in space is one of the challenges humans will have to face before attempting interstellar travel. (NASA)