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"It didn’t bother you to see the world tiny and unprotected, surrounded by darkness?”
May 10, 2012 11:03 PM   Subscribe

In a recent episode of Mad Men titled "Lady Lazarus," Pete Campbell has an existential crisis when he sees a picture of the Earth from space, but were there color pictures of the whole Earth in October 1966? First some background...

Astrophotography begins in 1946 when a V-2 launched from White Sands takes the first image from space - a grainy black and white photo of the New Mexican desert. By 1948, the V-2 flights were able to photograph all the way to the Gulf Of California.

In 1954, the first color photos of the Earth from space were taken by an Aerobee sounding rocket.

As the manned spaceflight programs ratcheted up in the 1960s, a new sociological view of the Earth developed. We, as a civilization, shouldn't be in conflict with the planet or treating it's resources solely as a source of plunder. Instead we are all "crew members" of a planet-sized spaceship and we should be doing our utmost to keep our spaceship in good working order. Political borders, as both astronauts and philosophers pointed out, are invisible from space and perhaps this will allow us to re-contextualize our relationship with the planet, with each other, and by extension the Universe.

By 1966, the "Spaceship Earth" metaphor was in the public consciousness. Vice President Hubert Humphrey refers to "the earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship" in September of that year. Economist Barbara Ward writes Spaceship Earth - an early manifesto of sustainable development and global mindfulness which in turned garnered the attention of famed futurist R. Buckminster Fuller. Meanwhile, Merry Prankster Stewart Brand had an idea:
"It was February 1966 and I was twenty–eight and was sitting on a gravelly roof in San Francisco's North Beach. I had taken a mild dose of LSD on an otherwise boring afternoon and sat, wrapped in a blanket, gazing at the San Francisco skyline. As I stared at the city’s high–rises, I realized they were not really parallel, but diverged slightly at the top because of the curve of the earth. I started thinking that the curve of the earth must be more dramatic the higher one went. I could see that it was curved, think it, and finally feel it. I imagined going farther and farther into orbit and soon realized that the sight of the entire planet, seen at once, would be quite dramatic and would make a point that Buckminster Fuller was always ranting about: that people act as if the earth is flat, when in reality it is spherical and extremely finite, and until we learn to treat it as a finite thing, we will never get civilization right. I herded my trembling thoughts together as the winds blew and time passed. And I figured a photograph—a color photograph—would help make that happen. There it would be for all to see, the earth complete, tiny, adrift, and no one would ever perceive things the same way."
The Apollo program was going full-bore by then and as NASA prepared to launch the Lunar Orbiter series of lunar-surveying spacecraft, Brand launched the "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?" button campaign - with buttons sent scientists, senators, thinkers, the media, and getting some press out of it. Finally realizing that the photo would be a good PR move, NASA instructed Lunar Orbiter 1 to take a single black and white picture of the Earth on August 23, 1966.

Only that wasn't the first photo... the Soviet Union had already done so three months earlier with Molniya I.

It would be another year before the first full-frame color picture was released, taken by ATS-3 on November 10, 1967. Only again, that wasn't the first photo... that honor fell to a Department of Defense satellite called DODGE who took the very first single-frame color photo of the Earth two months earlier in September 1967. However, by the end of the year ATS-3 had taken enough images to make the first color movie of the entire planet.

Arguably the most famous single-frame pictures of Earth ever were taken on the first and last Apollo lunar flights. William Anders of Apollo 8 taking the famous "Earthrise" picture in 1968 and the "crew" of Apollo 17 taking the equally as iconic "Blue Marble" picture in 1972.

After the button campaign, Stewart Brand goes on to found the Whole Earth Catalog - with a picture of Earth on the cover of every issue. The catalog becomes a sensation in the counterculture - resonating in particular with a young iconoclast named Steve Jobs. R. Buckminster Fuller publishes Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth in 1969 and eventually consults with Disney on the construction of EPCOT and it's central icon: a giant sphere called Spaceship Earth.

So no, Pete Campbell wouldn't have been able to see a full-color photo of the Earth in 1966, but if he makes it to 1990 it might be interesting to see how he would to possibly the most important picture of Earth ever taken: the "Pale Blue Dot" photo of Earth as seen by Voyager 1 as it prepares to exit the solar system and enter interstellar space. Carl Sagan, who requested that the photo be taken, famously wrote:
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.



The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
If you have the DISH Network satellite service, be sure to check out the DISH Earth channel - a live picture feed of the Earth from a camera on board EchoStar 11.

Some additional links:

- These two discussion threads on UnmannedSpacecraft.com

- Don Davis' collection of early Earth images

- Pictures of the earth from Mars orbit, the Martian surface, and from spacecraft on their way to Jupiter.
posted by quartzcity (87 comments total) 315 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is great.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:05 PM on May 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Great googly-moogly! Tuck a bit in the [more inside] but other than that this looks fascinating! Looking forward to sifting through!
posted by erebora at 11:06 PM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I find your blue eyes terrifying.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:06 PM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Epic shit.
posted by PHINC at 11:10 PM on May 10, 2012


[fixed the "more inside"]
posted by taz at 11:12 PM on May 10, 2012


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

When I post a dot on Metafilter, that's what it is.
posted by mazola at 11:12 PM on May 10, 2012 [41 favorites]


@taz - thanks!
posted by quartzcity at 11:13 PM on May 10, 2012


Okay, now you made me cry.

Woah.

And sheesh, most (all? I haven't found a counterexample) of these are oriented with Antarctica on the bottom- for some silly reason that irks me more than map orientation does.
posted by nat at 11:25 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terrific post! wow. Just wow.
posted by special-k at 11:29 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Somewhat related links with background on Stewart Brand's early days:
- The Whole Earth Catalog Effect (2009)
- Stewart Brand Meets the Cybernetic Counterculture (2006)
- USCO revival performance (2004) (USCO being the expanded cinema collective that Brand was a part of in upstate NY in the late 60s.)
- 1960s Electric Arts: From Kinetic Sculpture to Media Environments (2005) (More on USCO and it's broader context.)
- "Our Time Base Is Real," by USCO, in The Tulane Drama Review, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Autumn, 1966), pp. 74-93. (JSTOR)
- Counterculture, cyberculture, and the Third Culture: Reinventing civilization, then and now (PDF | 2012)
posted by jann at 11:30 PM on May 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Are you sure this one Soviet Union photo isn't
just a grainy pic of Khrushchev banging his shoe and yelling,
‘We will bury you’. But seriously, great post.
posted by quazichimp at 11:35 PM on May 10, 2012


Really wonderful post. Seeing this all presented here, I'm thinking that this earth-view thing also informed the title (and content) of Diet for a Small Planet... which actually might have been one of the first "consciousness-raising" things I ever read. A cookbook.
posted by taz at 11:41 PM on May 10, 2012


I came here for the Mad Men. WTF.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:05 AM on May 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


ok ok flagged as fantastic
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:05 AM on May 11, 2012


The completely unexpected 70s funk track on that final "live feed of Earth from space" link may be the single best thing to happen to me today. Aoooooooow!

Now I'm thinking big plaid spacesuits with flares. Solar flares. Get DOWN!
posted by Devonian at 12:17 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Holy cow!
posted by trip and a half at 12:30 AM on May 11, 2012


(I miss Carl Sagan--but am thrilled we have Neil deGrasse Tyson.)
posted by maxwelton at 12:43 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I like the pictures of the Earth. I find them (and this post) to be majestic.
posted by mochapickle at 12:50 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amazing, brilliant post.
posted by effugas at 1:15 AM on May 11, 2012


It's a good perspective to keep in mind. Excellent work.
posted by Skygazer at 1:36 AM on May 11, 2012


Really great post. Most excellent indeed.

Interestingly, Voyager 1 STILL has not left the solar system. It's currently in the heliosheath, the area of turbulence created where the solar wind begins to give way to the interstellar medium. (Stars basically create a bubble around themselves, pushing back interstellar medium (whatever that is) with the force of their radiation and matter ejection. This bubble, in the case of the Sun, extends far beyond the furthest planetary orbits. The bubble actually is not round, but instead is kind of teardrop shaped because the entire system is moving rapidly around the galactic core, causing the leading edge to be squashed and the trailing side to stretch out and distort toward a point.)

Anyway, all that was to say, that Voyager, since that photograph in 1990, STILL has not left the solar system. It's in this border zone, where the power of what the Sun gives off no longer can completely push away the "other stuff". It's expected to make it through to interstellar space sometime in the next 3-4 years.
posted by hippybear at 1:43 AM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Best. Post. Ever.

Thank you.
posted by ivorbuk at 2:05 AM on May 11, 2012


This is what Metafilter posters should aspire to. Superb. Thank you
posted by 0bvious at 2:29 AM on May 11, 2012


Amazing post! Thanks quartzcity!
posted by MelanieL at 2:51 AM on May 11, 2012


Thanks everyone! The misspellings and forgotten words stick out, but I can't do anything about it except watch that clip of the rotating Earth with the banging funk disco track.
posted by quartzcity at 3:19 AM on May 11, 2012


I have always been captured by the majesty of Earthrise and similar shots of our planet from space. But I've never seen Pale Blue Dot before and... it's like seeing Earthrise for the first time. Except... more moving and more headfucky. I get emotional at the opening credits of Contact - but damn, that single still image is phenomenal.
posted by crossoverman at 3:23 AM on May 11, 2012


Wow, well that clears that up. Excellent FPP, thank you.
posted by Catblack at 3:45 AM on May 11, 2012


Absolutely fantastic post!
I'm reading the First Man biography of Armstrong right now, and it makes me sad that we're not doing much manned space exploration anymore, just because I would kill for a chance to see an Earthrise in person.
posted by Karmeliet at 3:56 AM on May 11, 2012


Looked at the post and thought "ugh, Mad Men, blech". Then clicked the [more inside]. Holy crap.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 4:03 AM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that was quite a curveball.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:06 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this post and the links within.
posted by usermac at 4:11 AM on May 11, 2012


I think I must have a single mote of dust suspended in my eye. Damn you, Sagan!

(Also, hippybear, to paraphrase a famous fictional US president, every single time I think I have reached the limits of my capacity for wonder at the loneliness of Voyager, I read something like that and find that it may well be limitless.
posted by Jofus at 4:23 AM on May 11, 2012


The history here is fascinating. Those early photos are bad, it's strange that it took a human to get the iconic shot.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]



The Total Perspective Vortex derives its picture of the whole Universe on the principle of extrapolated matter analyses. Since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation – every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.

The man who invented the Total Perspective Vortex did so basically in order to annoy his wife.

Trin Tragula – for that was his name – was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. She would nag him incessantly about the utterly inordinate amount of time he spent staring out into space, or mulling over the mechanics of safety pins, or doing spectrographic analyses of pieces of fairy cake.

“Have some sense of proportion!” she would say, sometimes as often as thirty-eight times in a single day.

And so he built the Total Perspective Vortex, just to show her. Into one end he plugged the whole of reality as extrapolated from a piece of fairy cake, and into the other end he plugged his wife: so that when he turned it on she haw in one instant the whole infinity of creation and herself in relation to it.

To Trin Tragula’s horror, the shock completely annihilated her brain; but to his satisfaction he realized that he had proved conclusively that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot have is a sense of proportion.



Douglas Adams from "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"
posted by noaccident at 4:26 AM on May 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Great post! I figured Rory Gilmore and Pete had to be talking about partial-earth Gemini photos. It did bug me a little — I had heard the 1967 photos were the first to widely inspire "whoa earth is a tiny ball" kinds of thoughts.
posted by gubo at 4:32 AM on May 11, 2012


This is awesome. My 12 year old has declared his intention to be an astronomer - he'll love this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:37 AM on May 11, 2012


Gubo, there were no Gemini flights in '67. You're probably thinking of Gemini 11, which set (and still) holds the record for highest orbit of Earth by humans at 850 miles. That was in September of '66, and the final Gemini flight was in November of the same year.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 AM on May 11, 2012


noaccident, Douglas Adams died today in 2001. So here's a pale dot for him


.
posted by cgc373 at 4:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


They should have sent a poet.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:47 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: Yeah I was referring to the ATS photos; I wrote that poorly. My thought process watching the episode was "I thought the first photos to really seize the culture's attention were by ATS in 1967, so what are they talking about? Must be Gemini photos or something."
posted by gubo at 4:47 AM on May 11, 2012


It's a Big Blue Marble.
posted by tommasz at 5:13 AM on May 11, 2012


Whenever I think of that photograph I think of the Whole Earth Catalog (I grew up reading the first two, which have now been passed on to me), so this 'more inside' was a great surprise. And yet I never actually knew that Stewart Brand himself had anything to do with its creation.
posted by Flashman at 5:14 AM on May 11, 2012


Absolutely wonderful post.

(I am biased of course, I happen to live on the planet discussed)
posted by schwa at 6:18 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fantabulous post!
I, too, did a little "whaaaa???" when they discussed the Earth photos in that episode. I knew their timeframe was a tad too early for the picture they were talking about.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:27 AM on May 11, 2012


This is Planet Earth, seen from 36,000km above the surface...

The image was taken by the Electro-L, Russia's latest weather satellite [...], at a massive resolution of 121 megapixels.

Spaceship Earth's latest HD photo.

posted by Skygazer at 6:41 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have DISH and I find myself checking the video feed from the satellite quite frequently. I was born before anybody walked on the moon. The idea that I can push a button on my TV and watch the earth, from freaking space, still blows my mind every time I do it.
posted by COD at 6:45 AM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thanks for posting this. I watched that episode the other night and when he talked about "those pictures of Earth from space" I was wondering what he meant. I knew there had to be some grainy B&W photos from the early lunar probes but I also knew it was a few years before the good ones from Apollo would be taken.

I suppose back then even seeing a grainy black and white photo was amazing to people. Some day I hope people wonder why we were so impressed by those primitive pictures from the surface of Titan.
posted by bondcliff at 6:54 AM on May 11, 2012


Great post but I think the Mad Man angle was a mistake.
posted by Edogy at 6:57 AM on May 11, 2012


Instead of messing about with model helicopters, this guy should have just put captions over the DISH feed and called it done. I mean, you can see it's not rotating!
posted by flabdablet at 7:02 AM on May 11, 2012


Best. Curveball post. EVAR!

I hope those coming for Mad Men talk liked the lovely shiny space things.
posted by eriko at 7:06 AM on May 11, 2012


My parents had a copy of the first Whole Earth Catalog when I was a kid, but I could never figure out why.
posted by freakazoid at 7:24 AM on May 11, 2012


Great stuff btw!
posted by freakazoid at 7:31 AM on May 11, 2012


This is an amazing post! Thanks for all that effort...if we're going to pick historical nits though I'll point out one from the show itself. Pete doesn't have anything like an "existential crisis" when he actually sees the picture(s). He gets all weepy about it later on, after his new girlfriend says something.
posted by trackofalljades at 7:32 AM on May 11, 2012


This has to be the first time I've ever seen anyone mention the DISH Earth channel, which I actually have been known to put on from time to time (although it's REALLY BORING AT NIGHT).

So, tell me, quartzcity... had you actually heard of or seen that channel before researching this post? Or did you come across it while doing the research and decided it should be included?
posted by hippybear at 7:34 AM on May 11, 2012


Dish Earth is pretty freaking amazing when you sit back and think about the technology chain that made that possible. Too bad most people never check it out.

Also wish there was a way to see the earth at night and avoid the sun/ lens flare, but whatcha gonna do...
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:50 AM on May 11, 2012


"You might say that each and every one of us is a crew member here on Spaceship Earth."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:58 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brilliant post! This is going to be fun to dig into. Thank you!
posted by zarq at 8:02 AM on May 11, 2012


Wow, I'd never heard of that Dish Earth channel. Kinda makes me wish I had Dish network. I'll have to ask my Dad if he's heard of it - he's told me when he was a kid he used to dream of stuff like that being possible.
posted by dnash at 8:05 AM on May 11, 2012


Carl Sagan, who requested that (Pale Blue Dot) photo be taken, famously wrote: "Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us..."

Not being a space person, I had never seen that photo or read that quote before. Taking them in together, I began to giggle nervously, and then got choked up and shiny-eyed. Great post, thank you.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:10 AM on May 11, 2012


Kinda makes me wish I had Dish network.

DISH Network is a great service. We've had it for over 15 years now. But that one channel really isn't worth subscribing for. It's cool and amazing and technologically one of those "we live in an age of miracles" things, but mostly it's a sort of wallpaper. (And did I mention that it's really boring at night?)
posted by hippybear at 8:13 AM on May 11, 2012


OMG DISH HAS AN EARTH CHANNEL????
posted by Big_B at 8:41 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry got a little excited there.
posted by Big_B at 8:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This post should documented as an example of how to do it right.
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:27 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today I learned spaceship earth was not a buckminster fullerism. It still makes me a little disoriented when I get a horizon perspective where the earth's curvature is obvious as my normal modes of life are almost all very seemingly flat.
posted by bukvich at 9:37 AM on May 11, 2012


as my normal modes of life are almost all very seemingly flat.

Marijuana, speed, alcohol, lsd... in that order. Will cure you of that flatness.
posted by hippybear at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


(temporarily, anyway)
posted by hippybear at 9:56 AM on May 11, 2012


Nice post. We were wondering the same thing while watching MadMen, though I had thought the Blue Marble photo had come before the Spaceship Earth idea. This post was an enjoyable way to find out I was wrong.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:15 AM on May 11, 2012


This is really amazing. I had the same thought process after watching this episode and then I stayed up til 5 am researching the first photos of earth from space and then commented a condensed version of my research on nymag's recap:

"When Pete is laying on the floor after tupping his train-mate's wife, Beth, and she says to him "Your irises are so blue and round. Have you seen those pictures of earth from space?" Pete replies "Of course I have." She then asks,"It didn't bother you to see the earth tiny and unprotected, surrounded by darkness?" And he replies, "...so you don't like my eyes?"
This season of Mad Men supposedly takes place in 1966 as it kicks off on Memorial Day of that year. The first photo of the earth from space was taken by the (unmanned) Lunar Orbiter 1 on August 23, 1966. But. It was a grainy black and white photo of the lunar surface which included the earth, half obscured in darkness. The first colour photo of the earth from space, or "the earthrise photo" is one of the most famous photographs of all time and it occurred two years later in December of 1968 during the manned Apollo 8 voyage. The earthrise photo was in Time and Life magazines, and was the cover of the Whole Earth Catalog and played a large role in the changing cultural zeitgeist. Only about 2/3 of the earth is shown in this photo though and it doesn't much resemble a human eye. It wasn't until 1972 that the famous "Blue Marble" shot of the whole earth floating in a black cosmic void was taken. It seems in the exchange between Beth and Pete about his "blue and round irises" they are speaking from a post 1968 perspective as it would be impossible to miss the partial blue globe floating in space in the earthrise photo in everyday life. But with that said, it's still a wonderful and poignant thought to imagine Pete finally surrendering to and/or dealing with the void behind his blue marbles."
posted by PantherModerns at 10:36 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You might say that each and every one of us is a crew member here on Spaceship Earth."
I always found that perspective slightly wanting. We are not just along for the ride. We are built entirely from the constituents of this planet. We are part of the spaceship. When we send out spacecraft or ourselves, we are sending out bits of Earth. We are just its ambassadors.
posted by smidgen at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This photo from the Apollo 11 mission (direct link) isn't as famous or epochal as the ones described in this post, but it is my favorite Earthrise-type picture.
posted by twirlip at 10:52 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Floating head: We built Mars into a spaceship!

Zim: Why would you do that?

Floating head: 'Cause it's cooool...
posted by Brocktoon at 11:14 AM on May 11, 2012


This post should documented as an example of how to do it right.

Nah. You can find more plenty of more perfect examples in the last 14 years or whatever.

Too many Wikipedia links here. There's no need for any of those (or I'm sure there are better substitutions) in a post with this much meat.

Great post, but not quintessential. 9.1

/everyonesacritic
posted by mrgrimm at 11:20 AM on May 11, 2012


Fascinating...

Slowly over time, we became more and more astonished as to how beautiful, fragile, and rare our blue green gem in the night is...

It captured the minds of an entire generation... who now seem to have forgotten.

We finally come to understand that we must be good to one another, and our home...

Just as the age that allowed us such clarity of vision seems to be rapidly coming to a close...

Tears of joy... tears of fear...

As we dive headlong into the Anthropocene... and the horrors that chaotic systems realignment may bring forth come to pass... will we remember...

Will we remember that we were to be stewards?
posted by PROD_TPSL at 12:25 PM on May 11, 2012


Don't forget the old PBS kids show, Big Blue Marble.
posted by jonp72 at 1:06 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"When Pete is laying on the floor after..."

Well, good thing I've watched it, but other people might be a bit ruffled by the spoiler in the first sentence of your comment.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:13 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch.'"

— Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot, People magazine, April 8, 1974.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:36 PM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can't help to think that somehow these photos, and being able to see the planet as a concrete place where we live, together, instead of some abstract body of rock floating in space had something to do with the environmental movement and awakening of bigger picture issues that happened in the 60s. Is there any truth to that?
posted by Big_B at 1:41 PM on May 11, 2012


I came for the Mad Men and stayed for the world.
posted by crossoverman at 5:14 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awesome post. The Voyager probes have to be some of the best bangs for the buck ever.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 11:05 PM on May 11, 2012


Season finale: Pete Campbell is in fact an alien.
posted by colie at 2:04 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Big_B: I've heard the idea suggested before. I don't know that there's any way to prove it, but it seems likely.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:55 AM on May 12, 2012


Season finale: Pete Campbell is in fact an alien.


Pete, is so ready to say 'fuck it' to everything and join a free love commune...maaan...
posted by Skygazer at 9:48 AM on May 12, 2012


Pete, is so ready to say 'fuck it' to everything and join a free love commune...maaan

I've always maintained that when the show gets to the 1970s, Pete is the most likely to join est or some sort of encounter movement.
posted by quartzcity at 5:40 PM on May 12, 2012


So, tell me, quartzcity... had you actually heard of or seen that channel before researching this post? Or did you come across it while doing the research and decided it should be included?

@hippybear - I had DISH Network for a long time and I loved poking around the forgotten channels just to see what was there. I ran across the Earth live-feed and fell in love with it...

I wish it was streaming on the net though. I gave up satellite and cable service a couple years back and went net-only for everything - it was just too expensive (especially since at least 85% of the channels I never watched).
posted by quartzcity at 5:46 PM on May 12, 2012


"You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch.'"

— Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot


He almost didn't get to go on that flight. After flying 14, NASA wanted him to be on the backup crew for Apollo 16. But the program was coming to a close, meaning he wouldn't get another Apollo flight i.e. he'd be doing a dead end job. So he initially refused to be on the back up crew. When NASA said "That's fine, we'll get someone else to fly on 14" he changed his mind.


After leaving NASA what did he do with his new found global consciousness? Studied ESP, UFOs, claimed to be healed of kidney cancer by remote healing and swears there's an cabal of insiders suppressing the truth about UFOs.

In 2011, he was involved in legal battle with NASA over his attempted selling of camera from the Apollo 14 Lunar Module. Mitchell said it was gift from NASA, so he was free to sell it as he saw fit. NASA disagreed and sued to get the camera back. They won and donated the camera to the National Air and Space Museum.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:56 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


FYI for DISH people, they have a $14.99 per month plan that gets you your local stations and about 30 cable channels, including HGTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, Discover, TBS, History, and DISH Earth. I got offered it when I called up to cancel and turned down their first 3 or 4 offers to stay.
posted by COD at 7:31 AM on May 14, 2012


Yeah, the problem is, I'm hooked on Turner Classic Movies and a couple of other channels which only come with much bigger packages, plus I get all the premium channels.

I do need to weed it down a bit, because it's way too much money... but TCM... that's like the television version of black tar heroin for me. Just can't quit it.
posted by hippybear at 4:53 PM on May 14, 2012


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