The Blue Marble
December 7, 1972 - It was on this day that the crew of lunar mission Apollo 17 snapped an iconic image of Earth as seen from 28,000 miles in space. The photograph, which is known as The Blue Marble, is one of only a few that shows the planet fully illuminated.
Nobody is sure which astronaut took the famous photo, but evidence points to Jack Schmitt. Along with his fellow crewmen, Gene Cernan and Ron Evans, Schmitt was seated in the command module looking out 5 various sized windows. The men passed around a 70-millimeter Hasselblad camera with an 80-millimeter lens, each trying to capture a clean shot of Earth as their ship tilted and turned. After observing the Earth from their distant perspectives, Gene Cernan said to mission control:
I know we're not the first to discover this - but we'd like to confirm, from the crew of America, that the world is round.
One interesting fact about The Blue Marble image was that it was rotated 180 degrees before NASA distributed it so that the orientation would depict the South Pole at the bottom of the Earth. The way the astronauts actually saw it was the other way around. Since Apollo 17, no human beings have been at a far enough distance to capture a whole-Earth view.