The ‘blue marble’ image is the first of its kind in 43 years.
The picture is the first to capture the complete sunlit side of our planet since the Apollo 17 astronauts captured similar shots all the way back in 1972.
It was taken by NASA’s new Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) which consists of a high-resolution imager that can take pictures through a telescope.
The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of the Earth, taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, at a distance of about 45,000 kilometers (28,000 miles). It is one of the most iconic, and among the most widely distributed images in human history
Situated 1.6 million kilometers away, the probe will in future be used to monitor the climate and to help government authorities such as the Air Force and the NOAA forecast the weather in space.
The image with the official NASA designation AS17-148-22727reproduces the view of the Earth as seen by the Apollo crew traveling toward the Moon. The translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea to Antarctica. This was the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap with the Southern Hemisphere heavily covered in clouds. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible and the Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is Madagascar. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast. In the original photograph, the South Pole was near the top; for publishing, NASA rotated the image 180 degrees, in accordance with the convention of orienting maps with north at the top
The new image, which was presented to the White House today, prompted President Obama to post a Tweet saying “A beautiful reminder that we need to protect the only planet we have.”