50 years ago today, astronaut William Anders captured a picture of the earth from moon called the Earthrise, and that picture became historic forever, after all, it changed the way we though about how Earth moves around the Sun.
This is a time when almost all of us know that earth is a planet revolving around a star called Sun and there are undoubtedly a million more stars and their galaxies in the universe. But, despite knowing all this, we might not be able to picture what earth looks like from a distant planet or for that matter, our own satellite. 50 years ago today, astronaut William Anders captured a picture of the earth from moon and that picture became historic for ever. When Apollo 8, the first manned mission to Moon, reached at the surface of the satellite, little did they expect that they will get to see their own planet from a whole new different perspective.
Through the window, Anders saw a bright blue object rising against the infinite grey of moon and he rushed for his camera. Anders set the focus at infinity and clicked the photograph of earth and the picture became known as earthrise! 50 years later, Earthrise is still one of the influential pictures till date. The picture clearly depicts how small and insignificant we are, in front of other objects of universe. That we are just, one more planet of one more galaxy out of the million galaxies in the universe.
Earlier, Anders had photographed the far side of the moon for the purpose of geologists and he also clicked the near side of moon for Apollo’s landing site planners. As Anders said, “It didn’t take long for the moon to become boring. It was like dirty beach sand. Then we suddenly saw this object called Earth. It was the only colour in the universe.” However, Earthrise did not gain much popularity as soon as it was presented to the people. Its spiritual and philosophical significance came out later when news channels and newspapers put it up on their media, NASA used the picture for a stamp, and some other events followed before it got so famous.
And then, as Anders told, “It gained this iconic status. People realised that we lived on this fragile planet and that we needed to take care of it.” We came to know about the fragility, vulnerability and the finiteness of the resources we possess, and the place we occupy in the universe. We realized that there’s much more in the universe than us humans and our little fragile world. 50 years later, the Earthrise picture still evokes a sense of vastness of universe against ourselves and definitely helps us put our thinking in place.