There were a lot of things that launched the environmental movement 40-some years ago — the pea-soup shroud of smog that used to hang over L.A., the sight of Ohio’s Cuyahoga River on fire. But nothing quite matched the power of the pictures beamed back to Earth by the Apollo astronauts on their way to the moon.
We’d been seeing our home planet from low-Earth orbit for a number of years by then. What was always missing were human eyes that got far enough away so that the planet’s entire, 360-degree face fit into frame. Once we had that perspective, we saw our world anew: a tiny, fragile bauble in an infinity of blackness, something manifestly worth taking better care of.
Here on LightBox, images of Earth from above — and the back-story on why we call it “The Blue Marble.”
Pictured: Earth’s rise photographed by the Apollo 8 crew, 1968.