NASA celebrates Earth Day with iconic image of the planet – When is Earth Day?

April 22 is Earth Day and is an annual celebration of the planet and to help demonstrate support for environmental movements. NASA has got involved to celebrate the planet it spends most time trying to get away from by re-releasing on of it’s most iconic images.

The Blue Marble was snapped by astronauts on the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972, who were on their way to the Moon.

The image shows Earth in all its glory, with the oceans, continents and clouds as seen from space.

NASA said in a statement: “Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, people around the globe marked the first Earth Day.

“On this Earth Day, as we physically separate ourselves by necessity, we can still collectively appreciate the wondrous beauty of our planet and the extraordinary science that helps us understand how it all works – and we can do it from our homes.”

The original caption from 1972 read:” View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew travelling toward the Moon.

“This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap.

“This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible.

“The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic.

“The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.”

Back on Earth, it may seem like there is not much to celebrate this time around with humanity struggling to come to grips with the coronavirus outbreak.

Even NASA has been affected, with the space agency having to put a halt to proceedings as the US, the country worst affected by coronavirus, comes to a standstill.

NASA has had to suspend work on its Moon mission in light of the pandemic, after an employee at the Stennis Space Center in New Orleans, where it is testing the SLS rockets which will eventually go to the Moon, came down with coronavirus.

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NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said: “The change at Stennis was made due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community around the centre, the number of self-isolation cases within our workforce there, and one confirmed case among our Stennis team.

“NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of Space Launch System and Orion hardware.

“The NASA and contractors teams will complete an orderly shutdown that puts all hardware in a safe condition until work can resume.”

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