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Five decades of NASA 'Blue Marble' photography in 16 images

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A slideshow from Information Week looks at 50 years of NASA's Earth photography.

Apollo 8 moon image
Apollo 8 moon image

NASA's recently released "Blue Marble" images managed to capture our collective imaginations (the first image of the Western hemisphere has been viewed more than 3.8 million times on Flickr), but they're even more impressive when you compare them to past attempts to photograph the Earth. Information Week has gone back more than five decades to look at the history of NASA's Earth photography, starting with the first picture broadcast on TV, which was taken by the TIROS-1 satellite back on April 1st, 1960. The slideshow spans 16 images in all — including the very first "Blue Marble" taken by Apollo 17 in 1972 — and includes a few different perspectives. You can see the planet from the view of the Apollo 8 astronauts as they orbited the moon, or through composite satellite images taken over the course of several hours. And the next in the series is already in the works, with a new image that will show the scattering of light in the atmosphere over the course of a day.