The Earth rises over Mare Smythii on the Moon
© Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Cente
The view from the Moon
Only two dozen people have personally witnessed the Earth rising over the lunar surface: the crews of Apollos 8 to 17. Those 24 astronauts are also the only humans to leave low-Earth orbit and see the 'dark' side of the moon. And only 12 of them walked on its surface. Today, 20 July, is the anniversary of Apollo 11’s Eagle lander touching down on the Moon and the momentous first steps taken there by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969. Today’s picture of our big blue marble hanging above Mare Smythii was taken by the one of crew on that mission, 51 years ago. However Armstrong, Aldrin and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins couldn’t remember which of them snapped the iconic shot.