View from Above

Printed on pins, posters, and flags, the image of the earth from space can be seen all over the place, especially around Earth Day. But the full view of our planet is one that few people have seen in person.

In honor of environmentalists’ favorite holiday, the Associated Press asked space travelers to explain why seeing the earth from that far-flung vantage point leaves so many people in awe of the planet we call home.

According to the article in USA Today:

"It was the only color we could see in the universe. ... "We're living on a tiny little dust mote in left field on a rather insignificant galaxy. And basically this [is] it for humans. It strikes me that it's a shame that we're squabbling over oil and borders."

Bill Anders, Apollo 8, whose photos of Earth became famous.

"It's hard to appreciate the Earth when you're down right upon it because it's so huge.

"It gives you in an instant, just at a position 240,000 miles away from it, (an idea of) how insignificant we are, how fragile we are, and how fortunate we are to have a body that will allow us to enjoy the sky and the trees and the water ... It's something that many people take for granted when they're born and they grow up within the environment. But they don't realize what they have. And I didn't till I left it."

Jim Lovell, Apollo 8 and 13.

We can only imagine (for the time being) what the earth looks from space, but we do love seeing photos of Mother Earth in her entirety. Heck, some of us even have her picture in our wallets. We may even show them off to strangers on Sunday.