Earth from Explorer 6, 1959.
The very first photo of the Earth was taken by NASA’s Explorer 6 satellite in August 1959. America’s answer to Sputnik orbited 17,000 miles up. Its ‘camera’ was in fact a scanning device with ‘a tiny electronic brain called telebit’; advanced at the time, it took 40 minutes to transmit the 7,000 pixels back to Earth. It captured this image of the crescent Earth, released after two months of processing. ‘Scientists can discern cloud banks in the large white areas,’ declared NASA.