Mankind will not remain on Earth forever, but in its quest for light and space will at first timidly penetrate beyond the confines of the atmosphere, and later will conquer for itself all the space near the Sun.
– Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky, father of cosmonautics.
The first manned mission to the moon, Apollo 8, was also the first time that astronauts were able to photograph the whole Earth from space. On December 24, 1968, astronauts Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders entered lunar orbit.
William Anders captured an iconic picture of the Earth that day which came to be known as Earthrise. Anders was so in awe of his view of Earth, he proclaimed, “Oh my God, look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth comin’ up. Wow, is that pretty!”
Anders also said, ““We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.””
What is the Overview Effect?
The Overview Effect is a shift in awareness by astronauts seeing Earth from outer space as a “tiny, fragile ball of life.”
The term was coined by author Frank White in 1987 in his book, The Overview Effect — Space Exploration and Human Evolution.
Quotes From Astronauts About Earth
Here are impressions from astronauts upon viewing Earth from space.
“The vast loneliness up here of the Moon is awe inspiring, and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth. The Earth from here is a grand oasis to the big vastness of space.” — Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell
“The thing that really surprised me was that it [Earth] projected an air of fragility. And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile.” Michael Collins — Apollo 11
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11