It may sound kinda weird, but the first photo of Earth from deep space was never planned to be taken. On August 23, 1966, NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photo of Earth from the moon's orbit, to changed forever how we see our home planet.
|"That wasn't planned originally," said Williams. "That only came up after the mission was already in operation."|
Williams said that repositioning the satellite was a high risk maneuver. "If you turned the spacecraft maybe it wouldn't turn back again. You don't want to mess with a working spacecraft if you don't have to."
But there was a debate about whether they should even attempt this at all. In the end, Williams said that NASA decided it wanted the picture, and would not blame anyone if something went wrong during the repositioning maneuver.
So on August 23, the spacecraft successfully took a photo of an earthrise, the blue planet rising above the moon's horizon.
This Photo: NASA Infographic depicts the geometry of how the first photo of Earth from the moon was taken by the Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft on Aug. 23, 2011. CREDIT: NASA
First Photo: The world's first view of Earth taken by a spacecraft from the vicinity of the moon. The photo was transmitted to Earth by the United States Lunar Orbiter I and received at the NASA tracking station near Madrid. This crescent of the Earth was photographed August 23, 1966 when the spacecraft was on its 16th orbit and just about to pass behind the moon. CREDIT: NASA