When did we first see Earth from Space?
October 24, 1946.
A little more than a year after the end of World War II, a team of soldiers and scientists gathered in the desert of New Mexico to launch a V-2 missile assembled from parts captured after the German surrender. This time, though, the Nazis’ advanced rocket technology would be used for science, to acquire new knowledge, rather than to make war.
大约在第二次世界大战结束一年多之后，一队士兵和科学家在新墨西哥州的沙漠中集合准备发射一枚在德国投降之后通过收集而来的部件组装起来的 V-2 导弹。只不过这一次纳粹的尖端火箭科技将被用于科学研究获取新知，而不是被用于战争。
Together, the group strapped a 35mm motion picture camera onto the rocket and started the engine. Immediately, the rocket shot straight up into the air at high speed, with the camera snapping a new picture every second and a half and storing the frames on an old-style film reel. The first part of the mission was a success. The team watched the missile vanish into the sky, then drove into the desert to recover the data.
When they reached the landing site, the scientists found the very first photographs of Earth from outer space. Upon crashing into the ground, the camera had been smashed into pieces, but the film was intact, safely protected by a steel cassette. The photos were grainy and low quality, but they were clearly from space; after the film was developed, one could see clouds and the curvature of the planet’s surface. The team was ecstatic.
Here are two of the best pictures taken that day: