“Photography brought home the real meaning of our space activity, a grasp of what we can accomplish, and a view of the Earth as it really is: a small planet in a common type of planetary system around a rather normal, nondescript star.”
—James Lovell (Schick and Van Haaften, pg. 54)
A fantastic photograph of the Home Planet floating in the dark void of space. Getting back to that bright blue Earth meant traversing 205,000 nautical miles of space.
As the crew were far out in deep space about 97,000 nautical miles [180,000 km] away from home, they sent the last TV transmission from the spacecraft and took this photograph of the Earth through the 250mm telephoto lens. South America is visible in the center.
“The Earth [...] captured my attention. It was the only object in the universe that we could see that had color. It was beautiful, blue with white clouds, serene and majestic. It was home.”
—Frank Borman (Jacobs, pg. 34)
“The biggest philosophy, foundation-shaking impression was seeing the smallness of the Earth. [...] Even the pictures don’t do it justice because they always have this frame around them. But when you put your eyeball to the window of the spacecraft, you can see essentially half of the universe.”
—William Anders (Chaikin, Voices, pg. 159)
From the mission transcript when the photograph was taken:
Well, the Earth looks a little bigger to us today, not much, but it’s somewhat bigger. I’m sitting over in the right hand seat now; Bill has got the TV camera; Frank is helping him out aiming it directly to hit the Earth. I hope we have a good picture. [...]
As I look down on the Earth here from so far out in space, I think I must have the feeling that the travelers in the old sailing ships used to have: going on a very long voyage away from home, and now we’re headed back, and I have that feeling of being proud of the trip, but still - still happy to be going back home and back to our home port. And that’s - that’s what you’re seeing right here.
128:04:50 Carr (Mission Control):
Roger, Bill. We’ll sure be glad to get you back, too.