December 7 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Blue Marble photograph. The crew of NASA’s Apollo 17 spacecraft – the last manned mission to the Moon – took a photograph of Earth and changed the way we visualised our planet forever.
Taken with a Hasselblad film camera, it was the first photograph taken of the whole round Earth and is believed to be the most reproduced image of all time. Up until this point, our view of ourselves had been disconnected and fragmented: there was no way to visualise the planet in its entirety.
The Apollo 17 crew were on their way to the moon when the photograph was captured at 29,000 kilometres (18,000 miles) from the Earth. It quickly became a symbol of harmony and unity.
The previous Apollo missions had taken photographs of the earth in part shadow. Earthrise shows a partial Earth, rising up from the moon’s surface.