During August 1966 through August 1967, NASA sent five Lunar Orbiters to systematically image the Moon. Orbiters I-III had the objective of imaging 20 potential landing sites, and were flown at low inclination orbits. Each Orbiter was equipped with a dual-lens Kodak camera (one medium resolution wide angle 80 mm lens and one 610 mm high resolution telephoto lens), a film-processing unit, a readout scanner and a film handling apparatus. Each lens then placed its exposures on a single roll of 70 mm film.
This image, taken by Lunar Orbiter I on 23 August 1966 is perhaps the most famous – our very first view of Earth as seen from the Moon, taken from a vantage point of 730 miles above the far side. The image bears lines that are characteristic of all Lunar Orbiter images, and are a by-product of the complicated process used to create them.
Beyond the technical importance of the Lunar Orbiter program, these first images of the planet viewed in its totality had a profound impact on the cultural landscape back on Earth. Newspapers heralded the occasion as a landmark, "a sense of wonder touches our access to a phenomenon denied all previous generations" (The New York Times, 27 August 1966). Buckminster Fuller had previously observed that people perceived the Earth as flat and infinite, and that the root of their misbehavior could be traced back to this restricted perception of our environment. "Man's First Look at the Earth from the Moon" was the first in a series of NASA produced images that would create an important shift in how humankind imagined their place in the universe.
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