Before Apollo 17, lunar astronauts never saw the Earth as a fully lit globe. A photograph of the “full Earth” was simply not possible because of the alignment of the Earth, Moon, and Sun. Apollo 17 was the only lunar mission that had the opportunity to capture such an image.
The Whole Earth image taken by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt shifted the cultural perception of our planet to one of fragility. The environmental movement, which had celebrated the first Earth Day only two years earlier, adopted the image as its symbol.
Photo credit: NASA
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