On this day December 7, 1972

During the Apollo 17 mission the crew takes the photograph known as “The Blue Marble” as they leave the Earth taken at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers or about 18,000 statute miles.


The Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon.

The photograph was taken 6 minutes after launch, and about 1 hour 54 minutes after the spacecraft left parking orbit around the Earth to begin its trajectory to the Moon.

The time of Apollo 17′s launch, 12:33 a.m. EST, meant that Africa was in daylight during the early hours of the spacecraft’s flight. With the December solstice approaching, Antarctica was also illuminated.

The photographer used a 70-millimeter Hasselblad camera with an 80-millimeter lens. NASA officially credits the image to the entire Apollo 17 crew — Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Jack Schmitt — all of whom took photographic images during the mission with the on-board Hasselblad.

Full resolution‎ (3,000 × 3,002 pixels, file size: 6.21 MB)


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