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Then and Now: The Blue Marble

Before the crew of the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission took the breath-taking Blue Marble photo on December 7, 1972, mankind has never before seen the entire planet he calls home from a distance. Four decades later, mankind decided to have another look at the beautiful, glowing Earth against the darkness and void of space.

Original caption of the classic photograph via NASA – Earth Observatory: “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 the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.”

In February last year, NASA unveiled a composite image of the Earth in its entirety, taken against the vastness of outer space. It’s not the Earth’s first stunning portrait though; that distinction belongs to the original Blue Marble photo which was taken by the astronauts of Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972, from 28,000 miles away.

Touted as the “most amazing” and “stunning” high-definition photograph of our home planet to date, the so-called Blue Marble 2012 was snapped by a high-tech instrument aboard the Suomi NPP, NASA’s Earth-observing satellite. A closer look will tell you that this most recent profile photo shows the side of the Earth left out by the first “marble” shot. The original Blue Marble remains so iconic that it also even prompted a Black Marble version.

Blue Marble 2012. Image via Wikipedia

The new Blue Marble may be digital in all its glory, but don’t forget that it’s also a homage to the iconic original taken 40 years ago.

Now that we’ve got we’ve got you primed and ready, we have something utterly fascinating for you to watch:

All information for this article were sourced from Daily Mail, The Blue Marble on Wikipedia, and NPR.

written by plasticpopsicle

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