Blue Marble, the Earth floating in space 50 years ago today.

This spectacular ‘blue marble’ image is not the original, but a NASA composite giving the truest image of the entire Earth to date. Using months of observations (many from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite) into a seamless, true-color mosaic. Visualization date: August 2, 2002.

7 Dec. Earthrise shows a partial Earth, rising up from the moon’s surface. In Blue Marble, the Earth appears in the centre of the frame, floating in space. It is possible to clearly see the African continent, as well as the Antarctica south polar ice cap.

To see the Earth as a full globe floating in space, lighting needs to be calculated carefully. The sun needs to be directly behind you. Astronaut Scott Kelly observes that this can be difficult to plan for when orbiting at high speeds.[i]

Earthrise, that first photograph of Earth taken by astronaut William Anders on December 24, 1968 was I claim, ‘the most significant photograph ever taken.’

[i] Chari Larsson, ‘The first photograph of the entire globe: 50 years on, Blue Marble still inspires’, The conversation, 7, Dec 2022

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