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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

A Grand Oasis in the Vastness of Space

A Grand Oasis in the Vastness of Space

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, December 21, 2018/Categories: natural history, photography, space science, art and design, environment, adventure

                  EARTHRISE, Captured by Apollo-8 Astronaut William Anders, December 1968 (credit: NASA)

In what has become perhaps the most famous photograph ever taken, the crew of the Apollo 8 mission captured, Earthrise while orbiting the moon. They were first people to venture beyond the Earth to orbit another planetary body. The crew was Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders. They made several brief maneuvers to re-positioned their spacecraft mapping the lunar landscape. By sheer chance, the Earth began coming into view over the horizon.

The impact of a documentary photograph is often not be fully appreciated as to its potential wider power. Earthrise likely affected environmental concerns on Earth more than any image prior. It is worth remembering that major environmental legislation was enacted shortly after the iconographic image became public including: the Clean Air & Water Acts; the Endangered Species Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The American Geophysical Union has noted the Earth was a different place when Apollo-8 orbited the moon in 1968. The most obvious changes include a warmer climate and more environmental pollution than 48 years later. Oceanic levels have risen and sea ice is disappearing at the North Pole. These changes have been the consequences of constantly increasing CO2 levels from approximately 323 ppm then to 408 ppm now and the trend lines continue upwards.

Everyone should reflect on the words Astronaut James Lovell said while viewing the Earth from inside the Apollo-8 capsule:

"A grand oasis in the vastness of space".

The direction of the CO2 curve must come downwards!



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