NASA engineers named the historic image -- AS17-148-22727
As we have been recalling the history, we haven't had returned to us a 'whole earth' image since 1972. Today, the Associated Press reports Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, pointing out from Washington that there hasn't been a "full, sunlit picture of the Earth since Apollo 17 in 1972 - NASA's last manned moon-landing mission". Subsequent images "have been stitched together", the Senator explained, for composite shots. The Florida Senator has an exceptional point of view re: this amazing fact, as he was an astronaut who flew on the Space Shuttle from Florida's "Space Coast". In January 1986, Nelson spent six days orbiting Earth as a payload specialist aboard space shuttle Columbia. His NASA bio adds "The experience gave him a new perspective on the Earth’s fragile environment and a greater appreciation of the importance of our nation’s space exploration program."
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... the first photograph taken of the whole round Earth and the only one ever snapped by a human being
"You have to literally just pinch yourself and ask yourself the question, silently: Do you know where you are at this point in time and space, and in reality and in existence, when you can look out the window and you're looking at the most beautiful star in the heavens -- the most beautiful because it's the one we understand and we know, it's home, it's people, family, love, life -- and besides that it is beautiful. You can see from pole to pole and across oceans and continents and you can watch it turn and there's no strings holding it up, and it's moving in a blackness that is almost beyond conception."
Scientists from the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory (ISAL) at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) work with astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) who take images of Earth. Astronaut photographs, sometimes referred to as Crew Earth Observations, are taken using hand-held digital cameras onboard the ISS. These digital images allow scientists to study our Earth from the unique perspective of space. Astronauts have taken images of Earth since the 1960s.
There is a database of over 900,000 astronaut photographs (as of 2010) available at:
Re-Visit Apollo 8 and "Earthrise"