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The Blue Marble
|Published: Tuesday December 10th 2013 (1 year ago)|
Updated: Tuesday December 10th 2013, 5:30PM
by Martin Joergensen
We have used an image of earth shot from space in our logo for 20 years. The picture has a fascinating 40 year story
The famous photo of our blue planet was shot during their mission, and oddly enough it's not quite certain who of the three astronauts actually pressed the shutter on the specially modified Hasselblad camera that took the image. They are officially jointly credited by NASA, but both Cernan and Evans have been individually credited by different sources and Schmitt is quoted for saying “I was taking a broad series of photographs to document weather patterns” and claims to have shot the image in that process.
The specific picture was taken on December 7th 1972, as the spacecraft was on its way to the moon. It was shot with one of the famous Hasselblad cameras, which NASA or Hasselblad themselves converted for space use. No viewfinder, large buttons and levers and of course fully manual and mechanical and using film. In 1972 there was no such thing as a digital camera – not even in NASA. The image has been shot again many, many times, and even though photographers in space are few and far between, there has been plenty of the crew members on the space shuttles who have shot amazing pictures of the earth seen from space using state of the art digital cameras.
No matter what the first one is a truly fascinating picture, and back then it made people realize that earth really is a small ball in space, and did give a lot of people an impression of earth that started them thinking about our planet as the fragile entity it has shown itself to be.
For me as biologist and angler the image of the blue (water), white (clouds), green (plants) and red (sand) planet hovering in space has always been a very clear symbol of earth as a small, closed and inescapable system. In spite of the vast physical size of the globe, it suddenly seems very tiny, insignificant and very volatile. I think that a lot of people who have seen this image have felt the same way as I did, and maybe the image has induced a bit of conscience about the place that we live.
The image has remained in them all in one form or the other and will probably do so for a long time to come.