First complete color photo of Earth from space sold off at auction


posted Friday, December 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM EDT


At the time, it was a photo unlike anything most people had seen before: a complete color shot of the Earth from space, looking like the giant "blue marble" we've come to know it as. The rare photo, which was captured by a NASA satellite on November, 5, 1967, was recently sold off to the highest bidder at a London auction house.

The image (below) might not seem unique by today's standards but back then it was the first time many had seen the earth from that perspective.

"It is a very dramatic picture for the time and it caused great excitement across the globe," Sarah Wheeler, a photographic expert at Bloomsbury, which handled the sale, told the Daily Mail. "It actually came from a weather satellite which was up there to transmit images to be of use to weather forecasters back on earth."


The photo, a 10 ¾ x 11 ½- inch print on Kodak paper, sold at Bloomsbury's London auction house for 2,600 pounds sterling (approximately US$4200) on December 12th.

The image was captured from the Applications Technology Satellite III (ATS-3) by the then revolutionary Multicolor Spin-Scan Cloudcover Camera, which was invented by Dr. Verner Suomi and Professor Robert Parent.

To show how far space imaging has come since then, check out the NASA satellite image below of Hurricane Sandy hitting the United States in October.

(Thanks Phil!)