About Blue Marble

In 1972, an astronaut aboard Apollo 17 did something that wasn’t part of the mission plan: he took the first picture of the Earth. That “Blue Marble Shot,” as it came to be known, wasn’t just a remarkably striking image, but remarkable in and of itself. Due to flight plans and trajectories, most astronauts saw more shadow than sea. Yet on that December night, three astronauts en route to the Western face of the moon got a full view of their home planet.

Researchers would dub the feelings that view of the earth evoked, “the overview effect.” Some would note its striking ability to transform the viewer’s concept of self and even their own value system. “It’s home, it’s people, family, love, life,” Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan would later say about looking out and seeing the whole Earth. “And besides that, it is beautiful.”

In 2023, Blue Marble was founded by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs - an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization - to transform the way we see our world. At Blue Marble, we’re prioritizing connection over clicks and pursuing stories that go beyond headlines and borders. We’re keeping our eye on the now and the not yet, seeking out what the next generation needs to know to shape a more open and promising world. Like the Apollo 17 crew, we believe that remarkable things happen when the world comes into view.

Get to know the Blue Marble crew. Learn about our editorial policies and code of ethics. Subscribe to our newsletter. Donate to support Blue Marble.