Those are the famous words of Apollo 8 astronaut, Jim Lovell, reporting back what he and his Apollo 8 crew members saw when they became the first humans in history to see the surface of the far side of the Moon on Christmas Eve, 1968.
At this time of year as people all over the world gather with loved ones to celebrate the holiday season, there are currently six people who will literally be having an out of this world Christmas this year - in space aboard the International Space Station.
|The ISS Expedition 34 crew celebrating Christmas Day on ISS in 2012.|
Space Station crews are launched on missions typically lasting around six months in duration, with some staying aboard the orbiting complex for almost an entire year, including NASA astronaut Christina Koch who will have spent 10 months in space after her mission was extended earlier this year.
Every year since the turn of the millennium, astronauts and cosmonauts have been aboard the station to celebrate the festive season, which means unfortunately they don't get to celebrate with their families back on Earth.
But that doesn't mean they don't celebrate them in space!
On the ISS there are video-conferencing capabilities on board which allow the crew to talk with their family and friends at home. There is even a small plastic tree and stockings are hung on the walls for each member of the crew so that they can be filled with a few Christmas treats.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who celebrated Christmas aboard the station in 2014 was once asked about what kind of items would be included as stocking fillers.
"If we come across someone's favourite dish when searching through a food container, we can stick it in his or her sock!"
There is also a guitar and ukulele if the crew want to break out a few Christmas carols over the holiday season.
What's on the menu?
There's quite a wide variety to choose from on the ISS Christmas dinner menu including some seasonal menu items such as cranberry sauce, smoked turkey and candy.
The space station residents recently oversaw the arrival of two cargo ships - a Russian Progress resupply ship as well as a SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle which, according to Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Drew Morgan, is loaded with festive treats and goodies from friends and family on Earth for the crew to enjoy this Christmas.
|NASA Astronaut Drew Morgan excited to start unloading the cargo delivered to the station by the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft on December 8. |
credit: NASA/Drew Morgan/Twitter.
However, astronauts on the space station were not the first people to celebrate Christmas in space. The most famous example of astronauts celebrating the holidays off-planet was the crew of Apollo 8 back in 1968.
Spending Christmas at the Moon
Humanity's first mission to the Moon came over 50 Christmases ago when Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in December 1968, becoming the first humans ever to travel beyond Earth orbit for another celestial body.
The mission is remembered best for capturing the iconic 'Earthrise' photo shortly after entering lunar orbit, and the crew taking turns in reading from the first few verses of the book of Genesis during a live Christmas Eve broadcast from the Moon.
|"Earthrise" taken by Apollo 8 crew.|
Christmas 1968. Credit: NASA
Now, as space agencies from all around the world plan on returning humans to the surface of the Moon as part of the Artemis Program - which aims to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024 (this time for longer, more sustainable missions lasting months as they do on ISS) - one cannot help but think that astronauts eating their Christmas turkey on the lunar surface might not be so far away.
On behalf of Irish Space Blog we would sincerely like to wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas, a lovely New Year, and finally, to echo the words of Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman, "God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."