A delicate blue marble

TitleEarthrise [NASA photograph AS08-14-2383]
CreatorWilliam Anders; United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration
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The figure of the entire earth has been a powerful symbol in the cartographic imagination since long before humans were able to travel in space to see it for themselves. () When the astronaut William Anders turned a camera from the Apollo 8 capsule back towards earth and snapped this photograph, he created one of the most enduring images ever made of the earth's geography. Later dubbed Earthrise, this image seared itself into the public consciousness at a time when new concerns about environmental fragility were coupled with astonishment at what scientific discovery could do in the space program.

This photograph didn't necessarily create any knowledge that didn't already exist. By 1964, the continents were already well-mapped, and certainly almost everyone accepted that the globe was round. But to see a color photograph of the Earth hanging in space created a form of evidence that struck an emotional, rather than merely descriptive, chord.

Watch a video with the recorded audio from Apollo 8 mission sat the time this photograph was taken:


Cosgrove 2001
Denis Cosgrove, Apollo's Eye: a Cartographic Genealogy of Earth in the Western Imagination, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001). oclc:860552308