Big Blue Marble

I’ve mentioned before that the “Big Blue Marble” photograph taken by Apollo 17 astronauts on their way to the moon was one of the biggest disasters ever promulgated by NASA.

Oh, okay – I exaggerate, but only slightly. It is true that the photo, although not responsible for the surge of environmentalism that started in the early ’70s, certainly aided and abetted the efforts of those eager to see the end of mankind as a space-faring race, eager for a return of the world to a pre-industrial state.

Oh, wait. I’m still exaggerating slightly.

Its undeniable beauty did cause Congress to order NASA to change course. NASA responded only a few years later with Mission to Planet Earth (that is, cameras pointing in exactly the wrong direction) and low earth-orbiting space trucks (aka, the Space Shuttle), which were of dubious utility, except for two missions.

Um, one mission.

Because of the redirection, several things happened:

    – NASA did not send people out of low earth orbit
    – Mankind did not return to the Moon
    – Mankind did not set foot on Mars
    – Mankind did not visit Saturn (except briefly, roboticly)
    – I did not get my flying car (like they promised)

But I digress. I bring this all up because of the amazing and beautiful hi-def videos made available by the Japanese lunar-orbiting satellite, Kaguya earlier this week, and the photos of the Earth’s night side taken by European spacecraft Rosetta in its flyby yesterday (11/13-14/07).

I only hope that the Japanese and the Europeans do not make the same mistakes.

Explore posts in the same categories: Science, Space

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