From the ground, Earth looks like a large expanse full of bounty and different lands worth exploring. However, if you ask any astronaut, they wouldn’t really describe Earth so poetically.
Then again, some astronauts like Jim Lovell – who famously flew on both the Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 missions around the moon – do have a thing for words. During an interview with reporters, he once famously opined that “People often say, ‘I hope to go to heaven when I die.’ In reality, if you think about it, you go to heaven when you’re born. God has really given us a stage on which we perform. And how that play turns out is up for us.”
Blockbuster stuff right?
Well, turns out that being an astronaut can have a profound effect on your general wellbeing. Given that astronauts have been lucky enough to go beyond the limits of Earth’s atmosphere, it’s safe to say that it’s quite feasible that we can draw inspiration from photographs that they took while out there.
Here’s a comprehensive showcase of some real pictures of Earth from space.
While Carl Sagan famously described Earth as a mere “Pale Blue Dot” when the Voyager 1 snapped our home planet from 4 billion miles away on February 14, 1990, there’s nothing stopping you from forming your own opinion of what our home planet really represents.
You can choose to either feel really small or choose to stride like a colossus knowing that Earth is the only planet that we currently know of capable of supporting life. It’s a free world.
In contemporary times, it is regarded as one of the most reproduced images. While it remains unclear which astronaut pointed the lens at the Earth on December 7, 1972, one thing’s for sure, Earth does look amazing from 28,000 miles away.
The iconic “Earthrise” image quickly grabbed the public’s attention. The fragility of Earth over the moon’s horizon helped inspire the conception of Earth Day and a host of pro-environment laws.
If you were to believe popular culture, the dark side of the moon is more than just a misnomer. While the jury is out there on this, the Chinese National Space Administration’s lunar probe manage to catch a rare glimpse of the far side of the moon on October 29, 2014.
Really gets you thinking about the expanse of space, doesn’t it?
While the image was originally taken to review the deployment of an antenna, two celestial objects stood out, the Earth and the Moon.
Notably, it’s also the very first image of Earth taken from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon. The Spirit Mars Exploration Rover took this great shot from a distance of 161 million miles away on March 9, 2004.
In one of the pictures dated September 15, 2006, Earth seems to almost vanish in the brilliant backlit mosaic of the gas giant.
Remarkably, at 928 million miles away, the image seems to show the Earth as nothing more than a bright speck to the left of Saturn’s rings.
Launched on November 19, 2016, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-16 (GOES-16), sits pretty orbiting Earth at about 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers).
Essentially, this means that GOES-16 always stays in the same position as it tracks changes in the ground, ocean, and atmosphere as time flies by. To calibrate its cameras, GOES-16 makes good use of every opportunity it spots the moon.
While Michael Collins never set foot on the surface of the moon, he’s still regarded as one of the pioneering astronauts who were able to shape space travel into what it is today.
In this shot captured on July 21, 1969, Michael Collins managed to capture the magnificence of the Earth from the Moon with the “Eagle” lunar module of Apollo clearly visible as it makes way away from the lunar surface.
On February 7, 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless II, was the very first person to perform an untethered spacewalk. A 70mm camera beautifully captured the moment in time when McCandless II strayed away from the space shuttle Challenger with the Earth in the background.
50 years on after we walked on the moon, there’s still so much promise in the space industry. As the real pictures of Earth from space have shown, the cosmos is quite interesting.
Having shared the amazing compilation, we encourage you to pick up our NASA Space Mug. Scan the mug with our Augmented Reality app it, you’ll have a simulated spaceship experience through your phone. Want to have an experience of looking at planet Earth from space? Or dream to travel to space without leaving the Earth? The first-ever Space Mug is your best choice.