Published Dec 10. 2013

The Blue Marble

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 classic Blue Marble - Blue (water), white (clouds) and red (sand)
The classic Blue Marble

In December 1972 the Apollo 17 was launched and put the famous "last man on the moon" in the sense that no one has been there since. Astronaut Eugene Cernan was the last one to leave the lunar surface where he had been together with Harrison Schmitt while the third astronaut, Ron Evans, remained in the orbiting command module.

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.

The Apollo Hasselblad - A manual film camera with a very large shutter button - under the lens
Another view - Lots of images have been shot from the space shuttles
Camera and more earth

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 GFF logo - Withe the NASA Apollo 17 earth image as the O in Global
The GFF logo
Martin Joergensen

Of course the fact that we at The Global FlyFisher have the word global in our name also made it an obvious choice to put the image in there. The main GFF logo was created quickly almost 20 years ago, and the following years several derivatives were made to use in different contexts. We needed a square logo, a vertical one, one in really simple colors for caps and T-shirts and other variations.

The image has remained in them all in one form or the other and will probably do so for a long time to come.


Martin Joergensen's picture

Sorry about the triple copies of comments, but we certainly only send out one per notification! I have a fairly detailed log of all mails sent by the system, and actually there hasn't been sent a single one to the mail-address you have used for this comment.

I subscribe to several comment threads myself and only get one per update, so something must happen underway from us to you.


When I originally commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

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