The most iconic photograph of Earth | Letter

David Nowell, a fellow of the Geological Society, is captivated by Earthrise over the moon, taken in 1968

Rather than being taken from “inner space”, the most iconic photograph of Earth (Martyrdom? I’ve seen that movie, thanks, 13 October) was taken in December 1968 by Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman, showing Earthrise, as the disc of our planet could be seen rising above the lunar surface. Even though this showed it as a fragile pale blue sphere in the indeterminable void of space, Catherine Shoard is right to say that we have trashed the planet anyway. This is a great pity, as we learned a lot about the primordial Earth from the moon rocks they gathered and the instrumentation Nasa left behind, including mirrors that still allow laser beams to be repeatedly timed on their return to show how the moon is slowly drifting away from Earth by a few centimetres a year.
David Nowell
Fellow of the Geological Society

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