Science and Exploration

First Earthrise Image Taken 50 Years Ago Today

By Keith Cowing
August 23, 2016
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First Earthrise Image Taken 50 Years Ago Today
Earth and the Moon

50 Years ago today, on 23 August 1966, Lunar Orbiter 1 snapped the first photo of Earth as seen from lunar orbit. While a remarkable image at the time, the full resolution of the image was never retrieved from the data stored from the mission.

In 2008, this earthrise image was restored by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project at NASA Ames Research Center. The project obtained the original data tapes from the mission (the last surviving set) and restored original FR-900 tape drives to operational condition using both 60s era parts and modern electronics.

Larger view of Earth

Here is a comparison of the full image in its original, familiar context (higher res).

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.