Top 10 Awe Inspiring NASA Photos

The Blue Marble

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There have been updated versions and variations of this image through the years (one other makes the list), but this original was taken December, 17, 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17. This photo quickly gained authority through the presence of Antarctica—it was the first time that the path of an Apollo mission allowed for the frozen continent to be featured in a picture taken from a space shuttle. Apollo 17’s trajectory kept the sun behind the spaceship and so revealed a fully illuminated Earth. Contrary to some claims, this wasn’t the first photo that encapsulated the earth. However, it was released during a movement of environmental activism. “The Blue Marble” portrayed an Earth that was not so untouchable and durable as first perceived; it looks rather fragile and weak in the midst of endless black space.