There was no plan for photography during the Gemini III mission on March 23, 1965. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the Earth, the crew took pictures of their own during the three orbits.

Astronaut John Young took this magnificent picture of the black sky of space and cloudy Earth over the coast of eastern Africa, 90 miles below. The nose of the Gemini spacecraft “Molly Brown” is in the foreground. Young used a hand-held modified 70mm Hasselblad 500C camera with color film (Ektachrome MS S.O. 217). The lens setting was 250th of a second at f/11.

“There is a clarity, a brilliance to space that simply doesn’t exist on Earth, even on a cloudless summer’s day in the Rockies, and from nowhere else can you realize so fully the majesty of our Earth and be so awed at the thought that it’s only one of untold thousands of planets.”

—Gus Grissom (from his posthumous 1968 book Gemini: A Personal Account of Man’s Venture Into Space, pg. 108)