Apollo 17’s "Blue Marble" Anniversary

Home, Sweet Home: In Praise of “Blue Marble”

Forty years now since the Apollo 17 mission photographed the “blue marble.” TIME:

“…no other photograph ever made of planet Earth has ever felt at-once so momentous and somehow so manageable, so companionable, as ‘Blue Marble’ — the famous picture taken Dec. 7, 1972, by the crew of Apollo 17 as they sped toward the moon on NASA’s last manned lunar mission.”

A photograph for the ages:

Source: NASA/Apollo 17 crew: “Blue Marble.”

TIME on the image’s lasting impact:

“A large part of Blue Marble’s lasting appeal surely has something to do with the fact that the proportions and the features on display in the photo are so familiar. In a roughly square frame sits the almost perfectly round Earth (seen from a distance of about 28,000 miles). We not only see Africa: we recognize Africa. We recognize the Arabian Peninsula. We see Antarctica’s polar ice cap; in fact, we can almost discern its texture. And maybe it’s an illusion created by the gorgeous, swirling clouds against the deep blue of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, but it almost seems that we can make out tiny crests of waves far below, on the sea.”

But which astronaut took it? Per Wikipedia:

“The photographer used a 70-millimeter Hasselblad camera with an 80-millimeter Zeiss lens. NASA officially credits the image to the entire Apollo 17 crew – Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Jack Schmitt – all of whom took photographs during the mission with the on-board Hasselblad. Although evidence examined after the mission suggests that it was likely Jack Schmitt.”

Disclosure: Jack is a family friend.

I’ve never asked him about the photo.

Just continue to admire, ponder it.

The image moved the world so.

We must explore space.

Exploration is perspective.

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