Yesterday, we wrote about the fascinating new image of our planet at nighttime as captured from outerspace. Now, let us focus on its older but equally fascinating brother, the iconic Blue Marble photo, which celebrates its 40th anniversary today.
With the official NASA designation of AS17-148-22727, the Blue Marble is a snapshot of the planet Earth taken on December 7, 1972 by one of the astronauts aboard the Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the Moon.
“View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is Madagascar. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.” — Original caption via Wikipedia
It is reported that the camera used to capture the photograph was a 70mm Hasselblad camera with a 80mm lens (most likely modified and similar to the previous cameras that were used to document the missions on the moon).
A more recent version called Blue Marble 2012 was released early this year. It is a composite satellite image much like the more recent Black Marble.
And speaking of Apollo and Hasselblads, did you know that there are 12 Hasselblad cameras on the moon right now? They were left behind as “excess baggage” to allow extra space for the rather heavy lunar rock samples that would be taken back to Earth!
(We picked this little trivia up over at PetaPixel and thought you guys might find it as cool as we did!)