A pictorial history of Earth from space
Over the past 70 years there has been a stunning assortment of images of our home planet taken from space. Take a trip through the history of Earth photography in our gallery, from the first "Earthrise" images, to a look at our precious planet from the outermost reaches of our solar system.
In 1946, a group of scientists sent a rocket hurtling up into the atmosphere. With a 35mm camera strapped to it, the rocket reached an altitude of 65 miles (105 km) and treated humanity to the first ever pictures of our planet taken from space. These images were taken at an altitude five times higher than any previously photographed.
Hundreds of images were taken over the next few years using similar methods, but it wasn't until the 1960s that we obtained our first ever glimpse of Earth from the Moon. This famous image was dubbed "Earthrise" and several variations on the theme were captured over subsequent years.
As the 1960s progressed we saw several images of Earth coming from the Apollo missions, including some stunning shots of our globe, but the most influential arrived in 1972. Taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 mission, the image became known as "The Blue Marble" and is one of the most reproduced and well-known images in human history.
The Blue Marble image has been recaptured on several occasions over the years with NASA most recently delivering 2012 updates including what they call "The Black Marble" - an image of the dark side of the Earth illuminated by city lights.
Over the years, as we have traveled further and further afield, images of the Earth have been captured from great distances. We have snapped our blue planet through the rings of Saturn and from Mercury. One of the furthest images ever captured of Earth is known as "The Pale Blue Dot". The image was taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 from a distance of 3.7 billion miles away.
More recently, some compelling images of our planet have been captured from strange and new vantage points. Most striking are some of the photographs from the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite. The imaging satellite captured amazing pictures of the dark side of the Moon, illuminated as it crossed between the satellite and the Earth. The craft also captured some compelling imagery of a solar eclipse crossing our globe.
Astronauts on the International Space Station have also been capturing some stunning photographs of our planet over the last few years. From bizarre psychedelic time-lapse images to fascinating night shots we still are finding new and transformative ways of looking at our precious blue globe.
Click through for a spectacular trip through the history of photographing Earth from space.