41 years ago, the crew of Apollo 17, on there way to the moon were lucky enough to see the Earth perfectly illuminated by the sun behind their spacecraft. Using their NASA-issued Hasselblad 70mm, the astronauts snapped a series of photo’s, one of which, nicknamed ‘Blue Marble’ became our defining image of the planet.
Here is the original description of image AS17-148-22727 from December 7th, 1971:
View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew travelling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap.
Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the north-eastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the north-east.