University of Tennessee Space Institute astronaut Scott Kelly recently penned a blog post for the White House on the “New Blue Marble.”
In the post, Kelly—who is currently in the midst of a one-year mission in space aboard the International Space Station—talked about the difficulties of taking a “full” photograph of Earth from space, and why the photos mean so much to people.
Until the first “blue marble” image was taken by Apollo 17 in 1972, “no one on this planet had ever seen a whole picture of the Earth,” writes Kelly.
“We knew we lived on it, and had a vast amount of useful information about its makeup, its processes, and its place in the solar system,” Kelly said. “At the time, some of the most insightful individuals had begun to understand that we, the people who live on Earth, actually had the ability to influence the processes taking place on our planet.
“But it was hard for many people to grasp this concept. It seemed abstract, distant, hard to visualize.”
Kelly’s story, and many photos and composites of Earth can be seen here.