Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Restored for posterity: The historic moment Earth was pictured from space for the first time

Taken on August 23, 1966, this grainy image of the Earth - captured as the Lunar Orbiter 1 began to dip behind the moon - was humanity's first glimpse of our planet's place in the universe.

A historic moment for mankind, it is an image which will live on in history as the first time our species stepped outside our atmosphere and then turned around to see our birthplace from a whole new perspective.

And now thanks to expert restoration work, the photograph has been turned into a crystal-clear image which will likely live on as one of the defining moments in space exploration.

Back on Planet Earth that year, U.S. President Lydon Johnson was leading the war in Vietnam, the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy was stolen, and The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' album was released.

But national borders and individual incidents faded into the background when viewed from such a distance, leaving us with the image of a pristine cradle of humanity floating in the night.

Later, clearer images would continue to inspire mankind, bringing back more and more images of Earth from space, but this is the one which captures the very second humanity gazed down on itself for the first time.

And the image, showing the start of man's achievements in space, was followed less than a fortnight later by a vision of man's dreams for the future - when the first episode of Star Trek aired on September 8.

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