This is an interesting recounting, by Stewart Brand himself, of how he got NASA to point the cameras at earth when we went moonward.

Brand was roundly suspected of insurrection for this, but a nice photograph of earth ended up on the Whole Earth Catalog.

Here’s some of his tale of revelation about the photograph:

There it would be for all to see, the earth complete, tiny, adrift, and no one would ever perceive things the same way. But how to accomplish this? How could I induce NASA or the Russians to finally turn the cameras backwards? We could make a button! A button with the demand “Take a photograph of the entire earth.”

Those riveting Earth photos reframed everything. For the first time humanity saw itself from outside. The visible features from space were living blue ocean, living green–brown continents, dazzling polar ice and a busy atmosphere, all set like a delicate jewel in vast immensities of hard–vacuum space. Humanity’s habitat looked tiny, fragile and rare. Suddenly humans had a planet to tend to. The photograph of the whole earth from space helped to generate a lot of behavior—the ecology movement, the sense of global politics, the rise of the global economy, and so on. I think all of those phenomena were, in some sense, given permission to occur by the photograph of the earth from space.


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