Capturing The Blue Marble

The most famous photograph of Earth - the ‘Blue Marble’ shot captured by NASA astronauts on Apollo 17 - was taken on 7th December, 1972. 

The deep blues of the ocean, the green continent of Africa, the yellow edges of the Arabian Peninsula, and the vast empty blackness all around our planet are memorably captured within it. But what can’t be said with certainty is who actually took it - as all three members of the crew have claimed they snapped the iconic image. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly trace the origins of this moment back to Stewart Brand’s counter-cultural ‘Whole Earth’ movement of the 1960s; explain how Jack Schmidt’s presence in the Apollo crew was scientifically groundbreaking; and reveal why the photo was flipped before it was printed on the front page of newspapers…

Further Reading:

• ‘The Blue Marble Shot: Our First Complete Photograph of Earth’ (The Atlantic, 2011):

• ‘Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog, the book that changed the world’ (The Guardian, 2013):

• ‘Our Blue Marble’ (The Obama White House, 2015):

#70s #Space #Photography

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

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