40th anniversary of the Blue Marble photo

LIFE blue marble

Today is the 40th anniversary of the "Blue Marble," the iconic photo taken by the crew of the Apollo 17. More on the photo and its impact at LIFE.com and Wikipedia. Here's NASA's original caption:

View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is Madagascar. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast."


  1. It just occurred to me, if this were shown today for the first time, that the first comments wherever it was posted would be about why it doesn’t have North America in-frame and how fucked up it is that other continents/countries/people exist.

    Fuck, that’s depressing.

    1. Not to mention the hippie link because it was used as the cover for the whole earth catalog.  At least as a “work of the United States government, it isn’t subject to copyright.

  2. Much applause ot Jack Schmitt for likely getting this shot and the entirety of Apollo for getting him there in the first place.

  3. Anybody here old enough to remember that cool kid’s show with the very cool theme song that I can’t remember, “Big Blue Marble”? It had movies shorts about kids all over the world.  It was my first exposure to how kids lived in other parts of the world.  I wish I could get a copy of them for my kids (OK…me).

    1. “The Earth’s a big blue marble when you see it from out there…” popped into my head automatically as soon as I saw this post’s title.

  4. It’s officially credited to the whole crew by NASA, since all three crewmembers used the Hasselblad from time to time.  But when I met the Apollo 17 crew on their return, as a reporter, both Commander Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt told me they thought it was Schmitt who took it.  That’s good enough for me.  One of the rare subjects I do know Jack Schmitt about….

  5. I had a form of this picture that you tilted to make the clouds move.  I even punched a coupla holes in the side so I could put it in my Trapper Keeper.

Comments are closed.