Jul 17, 2009

Earthrise

the following liberally borrowed from the New York Times, Science Times 7/14/09:

On the 4th orbit of (Apollo 8), as Apollo emerged from behind the Moon, (Commander) Borman exclaimed: "Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! Here's the Earth coming up. Wow, that's pretty!"

The astronauts gasped at the sight of Earth, a blue and white orb sparkling in the blackness of space, in contrast to the dead lunar surface in the foreground. People at home saw the full Earth only in black and white television images. Even so, the sight moved poet Archibald MacLeish to write in the Times on Christmas Day:

"To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold - brothers who know now they are truly brothers"

In the 2008 book "Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth," Robert Poole contends that picture was the nascence of the environmental movement, writing that "it is possible to see that Earthrise marked the tipping point, the moment when the sense of the space age flipped from what it meant for space to what it means for Earth."

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