Monday December 7, 2020 Smile of the Day: The Blue Marble
On this Day:
The Blue Marble image was taken.
The Blue Marble is an image of Earth taken on December 7, 1972, from a distance of about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) from the planet’s surface. It was taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon, and is one of the most reproduced images in history.
It mainly shows the Earth from the Mediterranean Sea to Antarctica. This was the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap, despite the Southern Hemisphere being heavily covered in clouds. In addition to the Arabian Peninsula and Madagascar, almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Asian mainland is on the horizon.
The photographer used a 70-millimeter Hasselblad camera with an 80-millimeter Zeiss lens. NASA credits the image to the entire Apollo 17 crew—Gene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt—all of whom took photographs during the mission with the on-board Hasselblad, although evidence examined after the mission suggests that Schmitt was the photographer.
The Apollo 17 image was released during a surge in environmental activism during the 1970s, and became a symbol of the environmental movement, as a depiction of Earth’s frailty, vulnerability, and isolation amid the vast expanse of space (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
It is the year 2045 and Elon Musk is tired of having to pay the high prices to import ice-cream from Earth to the Martian colonies.
So the next day he buys a herd of dairy cows from a group of famers. As part of the deal, he asks them to put the dairy cows on his rocket to be sent to Mars.
But right after blast-off, inter-planetary customs officers make him hold the rocket in orbit around Earth while they inspect the cows.
Earth leaders don’t want to lose the tax revenue from exporting all the ice-cream to Mars and are looking for a reason to repossess Elon’s cattle.
The tension between Earth and Mars escalates to full-on war. Ultimately Mars is successful in gaining its independence.
Many years later, historians return to the launch site.
They had identified this event, when Elon had the cattle loaded onto the rocket, as the moment that lead to Martian independence.
They erected a plaque on this location that read:
“Here once the embattled farmers stood. And fired the herd, shot round the world.”
Second, a Song:
Planet Earth II is a 2016 British nature documentary series produced by the BBC as a sequel to Planet Earth, which was broadcast in 2006. The series is presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough with the main theme music composed by Hans Zimmer.
The Independent’s Christopher Hooton said of the series: “It is undoubtedly the greatest TV nature documentary to date and there’s a strong case for it being one of the best TV series full stop.” Michael Hogan from The Telegraph compared this series to the original Planet Earth series and said that “advances in technology have enabled intimate high-definition close-ups and gasp-inducing aerial shots” and said “It has become predictable to heap superlatives upon the BBC Natural History Unit and wax lyrical about Attenborough’s status. But both institutions should be treasured while we’re lucky enough to still have them.”
However, The Guardian’s Martin Hughes-Games, while calling the series “spectacular and fascinating”, accused programmes like of breeding complacency about the destruction of wildlife by painting a misleading picture of the planet. He wrote that series like Planet Earth had “become a disaster for the world’s wildlife” and that while world animal populations are decreasing, “the producers [of this show] continue to go to the fast shrinking parks and reserves to make their films – creating a beautiful, beguiling fantasy world”.
The series is also currently the highest rated TV Show on IMDb’s list of Top Rated TV Shows. In 2019, Planet Earth II and its prequel were ranked 72nd on The Guardian’s list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century (per Wikipedia).
Here is the Blue Planet II Theme composed by Hans Zimmer in a video of the original music score recording.
Thought for the Day:
“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth.” – Stephen Hawking
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2020 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky