The Earth’s disc as first photographed by humans

Space Mission
Apollo 8, 21-27 December 1968

William Anders

Photo Description
Vintage chromogenic print on fibre-based Kodak paper, 20.3 x 25.4 cm (8 x 10 in) [NASA photo No AS8-16-2588, inverted], with TUCKER collection stamp and A KODAK PAPER watermarks on verso (NASA/North American Rockwell)

The photograph was taken by William Anders with the 80mm lens. North American Rockwell was NASA’s prime contractor and manufacturer of the Apollo Command Module. About three hours and thirty minutes after launch, the crew of Apollo 8 was already further from Earth than any humans before them and experienced a never before seen view of the curved Earth from 6,500 nautical miles away. The Atlantic Ocean and the west coast of Africa are clearly visible. Commander Frank Borman reported to Mission Control: ‘We see the Earth now, almost as a disk.’Illustrated: LIFE 10 January 1969 p. 22-23