Photo of the Day: Earth from Space

This celebrated picture of Earth from space was taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew while traveling to the Moon. At the time, much of the focus of space pictures was on the Moon and other planets in our solar system. In comparison, pictures showing Earth were less common and pictures that used full color were also relatively new. So this presentation of Earth from space broke new ground in a number of ways and became extremely popular.

The photograph shows Earth from space at a distance of approximately 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles). There are many clouds over the southern hemisphere, yet still most of the continent of Africa is visible. This was the first time a picture of Earth from space included the South Pole.

This photograph became one of the best known pictures of Earth from space. It would inspire a subsequent series of “Blue Marble” pictures compiled from NASA satellite images. Photo by NASA