Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth

Overview

Earthrise tells the remarkable story of the first photographs of Earth from space and the totally unexpected impact of those images. The Apollo “Earthrise” and “Blue Marble” photographs were beamed across the world some forty years ago. They had an astounding effect, Robert Poole explains, and in fact transformed thinking about the Earth and its environment in a way that echoed throughout religion, culture, and science. Gazing upon our whole planet for the first time, we saw ...

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Overview

Earthrise tells the remarkable story of the first photographs of Earth from space and the totally unexpected impact of those images. The Apollo “Earthrise” and “Blue Marble” photographs were beamed across the world some forty years ago. They had an astounding effect, Robert Poole explains, and in fact transformed thinking about the Earth and its environment in a way that echoed throughout religion, culture, and science. Gazing upon our whole planet for the first time, we saw ourselves and our place in the universe with new clarity.

Poole delves into new areas of research and looks at familiar history from fresh perspectives. With intriguing anecdotes and wonderful pictures, he examines afresh the politics of the Apollo missions, the challenges of whole Earth photography, and the story of the behind-the-scenes struggles to get photographs of the Earth put into mission plans. He traces the history of imagined visions of Earth from space and explores what happened when imagination met reality. The photographs of Earth represented a turning point, Poole contends. In their wake, Earth Day was inaugurated, the environmental movement took off, and the first space age ended. People turned their focus back toward Earth, toward the precious and fragile planet we call home.

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Editorial Reviews

The Chronicle Review

"An absorbing account of how the first pictures of Earth shaped mankind's perception of itself, and its relationship with nature."—The Chronicle Review
North Coast Journal

"This smart and exciting little book sets the historical context for this photo [Earthrise], and is especially fascinating about the almost forgotten Apollo program. . . . This book is rich in the relationship between past and contemporary imagination and the realities of these missions."—William Kowinski, North Coast Journal

— William Kowinski,

Los Angeles Times

"A remarkable book."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times (My book gift choice of this season)

— Susan Salter Reynolds

Choice

“An interesting, informative read. . . . Recommended.”—Choice
The Space Review

"Marvelous."—Eve Lichtgarn, The Space Review

— Eve Lichtgarn

North Coast Journal - William Kowinski

"This smart and exciting little book sets the historical context for this photo [Earthrise], and is especially fascinating about the almost forgotten Apollo program. . . . This book is rich in the relationship between past and contemporary imagination and the realities of these missions."—William Kowinski, North Coast Journal
Los Angeles Times - Susan Salter Reynolds

"A remarkable book."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times (My book gift choice of this season)
The Space Review - Eve Lichtgarn

"Marvelous."—Eve Lichtgarn, The Space Review
Publishers Weekly

Concisely and thoughtfully, British historian Poole reveals the behind-the-scenes story of the first photographs taken of Earth from space, and how those amazing images forever changed our view of the planet, the universe and humanity. The tightly scheduled 1968 Apollo 8 mission was focused on the first lunar orbit, but "Earthrise"-the image of a cloudy blue Earth rising over a starkly monochromatic lunar surface-stunned everyone. Astronaut Frank Borman called it "the most beautiful, heart-catching sight of my life." NASA, at the forefront of the "astrofuturist" movement that saw humanity's future out among the stars, was unprepared for the paradoxical reaction "Earthrise" provoked. Rather than turning people's eyes on a future in space, it refocused them on Earth. For many astronauts, says Poole, the sight "hit with the force of a religious experience," which echoed throughout the world. Fifteen months later came the first Earth Day and the start of an "eco-renaissance" devoted to preserving and protecting "Spaceship Earth." Drawing on historical reports and interviews, Poole smartly delineates the philosophical, spiritual and environmental impact of the photo that reminded humankind of the beauty and fragility of Earth. Photos. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300137668
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/6/2008
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert Poole is reader in history, University of Cumbria. He has written and broadcast extensively on history, from witch trials to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and has published in journals from History Today to Past and Present. He lives in Lancaster, England.
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Table of Contents

List of illustrations ix

Acknowledgements xi

Timeline xiii

List of abbreviations xviii

1 Earthrise, seen for the first time by human eyes 1

2 Apollo 8: from the Moon to the Earth 14

3 A short history of the whole Earth 36

4 From landscape to planet 56

5 Blue marble 82

6 An astronaut's view of Earth 97

7 From Cold War to open skies 116

8 From Spaceship Earth to Mother Earth 141

9 Gaia 170

10 The discovery of the Earth 190

Notes 200

Index 226

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