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And a great big blue sky below
April 7, 2011 4:03 PM   Subscribe

32 images of the earth from the blackness of space, many with spacewalking astronauts in the foreground, presented in a Big Picture style. (via)

The sources of most images are cited, and often point back to NASA.gov-hosted images (2nd gallery) and the Flickr gallery of NASA/ESA astronaut Paulo Nespoli (who has been on the Blue before).
posted by filthy light thief (34 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are plenty of similar prior posts, but I rather liked this self-portrait in space post.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:04 PM on April 7, 2011


This one just freaks me out, honestly. Amazing.
posted by epersonae at 4:18 PM on April 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


I CAN SEE MY HOUSE IN THE FIRST ONE!
posted by doublehappy at 4:23 PM on April 7, 2011


These are gorgeous, but real poetry is when you get so far out you can see the whole planet.
Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth... home.
— Edgar Mitchell

As we got further and further away, Earth diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.
— James B. Irwin

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
posted by Rhaomi at 4:28 PM on April 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Neat pictures, but I was kind of annoyed by the lack of information in the captions. For example, what is the module in #11? Why is Greenland the only bit of land that is identified, despite many nice vistas of coastlines and the like being visible? And at this point, I can't see any pictures of the ISS without being annoyed at how ridiculously low of an orbit it's in. Now that the space shuttle program is shut down, the clock is ticking on that whole project. How often do they have to boost the orbit, again? I bet the plug gets pulled before 2025.
posted by norm at 4:31 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


For no apparent reason, this one just made me burst into tears at my desk. Fucking hormones.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:32 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want to be able to click on a Google Earth link on any one of these photos and see just exactly what part of Terra is in the background.
posted by sciurus at 4:35 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


For All Mankind - Spacewalk EVA Scene (music: lanois, eno)
posted by puny human at 4:36 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


This one just freaks me out, honestly. Amazing.

Yeah, that one struck me as well. Can you imagine the courage it takes to wander that far away from your home base IN FUCKING SPACE?! I mean, it's not like you are swimming away from your boat in Lake Michigan or anything. Holy whuh!
posted by NoMich at 4:41 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It helps to view these pictures when listening to this song.
posted by NoMich at 4:46 PM on April 7, 2011


CunningLinguist: "For no apparent reason, this one just made me burst into tears at my desk. Fucking hormones"

The wonders of inner space reflecting on the implications of outer space. So recursively beautiful.
posted by kilo hertz at 4:48 PM on April 7, 2011


It must have been mind blowing to be born in the late 19th century. You go from 1915, where all travel is on steamships and coal-powered trains, to 1965, when you've got spacewalks like these, the SR-71, and soon the Concorde.

I guess spacewalks haven't changed much in principle during the past 50 years (here's one from 46 years ago), though back then I guess they weren't too thrilling in the muddy color print technology of the 1960s and on those grainy 16 mm film clips on TV.
posted by crapmatic at 4:49 PM on April 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The scale disparity is wordless.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:06 PM on April 7, 2011


crapmatic, when I was in high school (late 80s-early 90s) I had a school project that included interviewing relatives, asking what they thought about changes that had happened in their lifetime -- that sounds a lot like what my Grandmother (1911-2005) said. I think she specifically mentioned the moon walk, as contrasted to her childhood in the NYC of the teens.

I continue to be bitter that humans have not walked on the moon during my lifetime.
posted by epersonae at 5:08 PM on April 7, 2011


I guess spacewalks haven't changed much in principle during the past 50 years

The first space walks were done to show off, first by the Russians, just to be first and the second one, by Americans on Gemini 4, just to prove "Hey, we could do it too!"

Those first EVAs were pretty dangerous. Alexey Leonov had to bleed off pressure from his space suit just to get back inside. Ed White had a better time of it on the second space walk, but that fooled NASA into thinking it was easy. Eugene Cernan, on Gemini 9, had a hell of time, trying to get to and use the first example of the MMU, which would allow an astronaut to maneuver in space without a tether. In his book, Last Man on the Moon, he described the experience as incredibly hard due to having no control and his space suit inflating and sweating like crazy. There was real worry getting him back into the capsule with the bloated suit. He was forced into a really uncomfortable position and reduced to tears while his commander basically forced the hatch closed. It took until Gemini 12 for NASA to get space walk training and procedures down.

Anyway, enjoy the 10 best space walks ever, with video.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:11 PM on April 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


NoMich: Yeah, that one struck me as well. Can you imagine the courage it takes to wander that far away from your home base IN FUCKING SPACE?! I mean, it's not like you are swimming away from your boat in Lake Michigan or anything. Holy whuh!

I was thinking more along the lines of seafarers who went off into the great blue of the immense oceans, beyond the sight of land. Heck, I feel uncomfortable looking west along Highway 1 towards Big Sur (moreso on clear days, when the ocean seems endless). The sheer vastness of it all ...


crapmatic: I guess spacewalks haven't changed much in principle during the past 50 years (here's one from 46 years ago), though back then I guess they weren't too thrilling in the muddy color print technology of the 1960s and on those grainy 16 mm film clips on TV.

Are you kidding? I couldn't imagine being more astounded, given that the only thing I could get was grainy film. Technology for sharp images was futuristic, but there were people living in space.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:18 PM on April 7, 2011


though back then I guess they weren't too thrilling in the muddy color print technology of the 1960s and on those grainy 16 mm film clips on TV.

The print images and video of Gemini 4's space walk, from 1966, is holds up well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:22 PM on April 7, 2011


This space first was made possible by the Manned Manuevering Unit or MMU, a nitrogen jet propelled backpack.

OMG SPACE JETPACK. I think I just had a stroke from the epic jealousy.
posted by elizardbits at 5:27 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This one just freaks me out, honestly. Amazing.
Many years ago I had a nightmare...a night terror actually... that depicted this scene but from the perpective of the human watching the earth slowly drift away. I woke up to the first panic attack of my life.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:37 PM on April 7, 2011


That picture is hauntingly beautiful. Also, so scary.
posted by milestogo at 5:42 PM on April 7, 2011


Can you imagine the courage it takes to wander that far away from your home base IN FUCKING SPACE?!

That doesn't seem scary to me. What seems scary is the space walks on Apollo 15-17, done as the astronauts were returning from the moon. There doesn't seem to be much video or pictures from those, but here's one from Apollo 15 (scroll down, click on space walk image) and Apollo 17. Can you imagine holding on to handrails in deep space, with no Earth under you and in fact you can blot it out with your hand? You're 200,000 miles from your home planet so you don't let go.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:51 PM on April 7, 2011


In the early sixties I wanted to walk in space. I really thought that, by the year 2000, anybody (with enough money, of course) could. The closest I got was visiting Cape Canaveral. Time to admit that the dream is out of my reach.
posted by francesca too at 6:00 PM on April 7, 2011


Pale Blue Dot.
posted by bwg at 6:13 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The trick is to take the feeling you get when you see the Earth from space, and have it from the ground.
posted by Beardman at 6:16 PM on April 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is it wrong for me to think that the entire cost of the space program is justified by pictures like these, and the thoughts they make us think?

Norm, that bothered me too. This pic features coastal Peru.
posted by mollweide at 6:45 PM on April 7, 2011


crapmatic: "It must have been mind blowing to be born in the late 19th century. You go from 1915, where all travel is on steamships and coal-powered trains, to 1965, when you've got spacewalks like these, the SR-71, and soon the Concorde."
Richie Norris: I bet you're psyched about the Martians coming Grandma? I mean, you've seen a lot of crazy stuff already. Everyone must have been real scared when they invented the train!

Grandma Florence Norris: Come on kid I'm not that old!
- Mars Attacks!
posted by brundlefly at 7:02 PM on April 7, 2011


Jaw status: Dropped.
posted by schmod at 8:01 PM on April 7, 2011


"The title Whole Earth Catalog came from a previous project of Stewart Brand. In 1966, he initiated a public campaign to have NASA release the then-rumored satellite photo of the sphere of Earth as seen from space, the first image of the "Whole Earth." He thought the image might be a powerful symbol, evoking a sense of shared destiny and adaptive strategies from people."
posted by ovvl at 8:20 PM on April 7, 2011


Chinese Spacewalk!
posted by Tom-B at 10:34 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some great pictures in there. I recently got a new desktop and hadn't gotten around to getting rid of the annoying themes advertising the manufacturer, but now I have new wallpaper.
posted by Jakey at 3:20 AM on April 8, 2011


These pictures are both awe- and fear-inspiring.
posted by molecicco at 3:25 AM on April 8, 2011


Those free-floating pictures are terrifying. Truly.
posted by litnerd at 5:05 AM on April 8, 2011


@NoMich

i prefer this song instead
posted by liza at 6:09 AM on April 8, 2011


So much better than this
posted by stormpooper at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2011


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