23 August 2015

Sunday marks 49 years since Lunar Orbiter 1 photo

First picture taken from the moon of Earth.
The first ever photo of Earth taken from another world was snapped on Aug. 23, 1966. The photo was taken from the Lunar Orbiter One, which captured the image from near the surface of the moon 13 days after it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Soon after it got to the moon, it pointed a camera back to the planet to take a photo of the Earth, which was partially lit by the sun. The grainy image, which was later enhanced, showed a section of Earth shrouded by clouds. 
The orbiter was launched on Aug. 10, 1966 and orbited the moon for more than two months before it was intentionally demolished. The craft weighed 850 pounds on Earth.
The purpose of the orbiter was to investigate possible landing spots for future surveyors and manned missions. The orbiter, along with its companion orbiters, took nearly 3,000 medium and high resolution surface pictures of the moon, helping NASA document 99 percent of the moon's surface.
While other photos had been taken from space of the planet, it was the first time the entire Earth fit into a single image captured by NASA. It was also the first time a photo of Earth had another world's surface in the foreground.