Throwback: When the world saw first view of Earth from the vicinity of Moon


This throwback picture is the first picture of our home planet Earth taken from the vicinity of the Moon. The photo was captured by NASA’s Lunar Orbiter I, the first U.S. spacecraft to orbit the Moon, on August 23, 1966, during its 16th orbit.

The picture was transmitted to Earth by the spacecraft and received at the NASA tracking station at Robledo De Chavela near Madrid, Spain.

Lunar Orbiter 1 was launched on August 10, 1966, on an Atlas SLV-3 Agena-D rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida and crashed onto the lunar surface on October 29, 1966. The spacecraft’s primary mission was to photograph smooth areas of the moon’s surface for the selection of landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

NASA launched five Lunar Orbiter missions from 1966 through 1967 with the first three of them dedicated to imaging the lunar landing sites for the Apollo mission. All five missions were successful and 99% of the Moon was photographed, according to NASA.

The Lunar Orbiter 4 was the first in a series of missions dedicated to scientific surveys of the Moon. It was the first spacecraft to go into a polar orbit around the Moon and also took the first photos of the Moon’s south pole.

The Lunar Orbiter 5 was the last of the Lunar Orbiter series and its primary objective was to take additional pictures of Apollo sites, broad surveys of unphotographed areas of the far side of the Moon, image the Surveyor landing sites, and photograph areas of scientific value.

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