CHICAGO (CBS) — About 50 years after Earthlings first saw its planet from the surface of the moon, NASA has released a stunning image of the Home Planet rising above the lunar surface.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter sent back the photos, released on Friday, about two months ago.
The Sahara Desert appears illuminated just to the right center. The foot-like outline of Saudi Arabia is just beyond to the right. At the lower, left, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America.
The orbiter was launched on June 18, 2009.
It experiences 12 Earth rises every day.
“However the spacecraft is almost always busy imaging the lunar surface so only rarely does an opportunity arise such that its camera instrument can capture a view of Earth,” NASA said in a blog post.
This image is actually a series of photos taken in mid October.
NASA’s first Earthrise image was taken with the Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft in 1966.
More people may be familiar with an Earth rise photo was taken by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission as the spacecraft entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968.
That evening, the astronauts, Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft.