Magnificient Earthrise

Space Mission
Apollo 10, 18-26 May 1969

John Young

Photo Description
Vintage chromogenic print on fiber-based Kodak paper
8 h × 10 w in (20 × 25 cm); ‘A Kodak Paper’ watermarks to verso. [NASA image AS10-27-3892]

This amazing photograph was taken on orbit 24 looking west over Smyth’s Sea through the 250mm telephoto lens.
LIFE described the picture with an accompanying quote by Cernan as he observed the Earth rising from the LM Snoopy on another orbit (orbit 13): “Oh. Charlie. We just saw Earthrise and it’s got to be magnificent.“

“To see our home planet from this point of view was absolutely awesome. It was nearly breathtaking. I was reminded of Socrates’s saying in 399 B.C., before flight above the ground was theorized: ‘A man must rise above the Earth to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, and only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.”
—Thomas Stafford (Jacobs, pg. 53)

From the mission when the photograph was taken:
122:01:58 Stafford: We’ll have acquisition from the Earth soon.
122:02:27 Stafford: Now. if that [the color of the Moon] isn’t a tan color, absolutely tan, I don’t know what the hell is. […]
122:05:52 Cernan: There it is [the Earth].
122:05:53 Stafford: Hit it, quick. Go, baby, go.
122:05:56 Young: What?
122:05:57 Stafford: The Earth. Hit it. Again, baby…
122:06:00 Young: Jesus Christ.
122:06:02 Stafford: Are you aiming at it right now?
122:06:05 Cernan: I know where this one is.
122:06:14 Stafford: Beautiful, Gene-o.
122:06:16 Cernan: Think I can get…
122:06:17 Young: Sounds like we’re about to acquire (radio signal with the Earth).
122:06:28 Cernan: Yes, we are.
122:06:36 Stafford: Might shoot an f:8 – 80 on it. Oh, 250 (mm lens) will be good.