By Emily Schilling
Growing up during the heyday of Apollo space program, when rocket launches were the norm and the moon became an attainable destination, I was awestruck, like so many others, by a famous photograph of our planet. It was shot by the crew of Apollo 17 on our country’s last journey to the moon on Dec. 7, 1972. This photo was dubbed “Blue Marble” since the image resembles one of those small colorful glass spheres kids used to play with “back in the day.”
Nowadays, Google Earth can display wide expanses of land, sea, sky and solar system at the touch of a keypad. But “Blue Marble” was the first photo to ever capture the entire planet in such magnificent detail.
I recently read that legendary singer Tony Bennett shares my fascination with the photo. “I remember being so captivated, thinking about what it must have been like to frame the entire world between two fingers,” he said. “All the tribulations, the wars, the prejudice, and everything that divides us, simply melt away when you realize that we’re all together on one planet and that every problem should have a solution.”
Bennett’s words struck a chord with me. The discord surrounding us does seem petty when you view our world in its entirety in one photo. Earth’s inhabitants may speak different languages, live in different time zones, have different beliefs, have different skin tones. But we are all from the same planet with just as much in common as what makes us unique.
I challenge us all to see the entire picture — both literally and figuratively — not just our corner of the world. Whenever we start focusing on what’s wrong with the world, we should remember our planet is a “Blue Marble” — vibrant, magnificent, home to us all.
Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweikert said it best on his journey back from space: “As you pass from sunlight into darkness and back again … you become startlingly aware how artificial are thousands of boundaries we’ve created to separate and define. And for the first time in your life you feel in your gut the precious unity of the Earth and all the living things it supports.”
Here’s to remembering that unity.
EMILY SCHILLING is editor of Electric Consumer