Gemini's wonderful photographs of the Earth marked the birth of our environmental consciousness.
The longer missions and perfected photographic equipment allowed the astronauts to record extremely detailed photographs of the Earth, definitely confirming the potential of photography from space and bringing to light the fragility of the Earth.
In the first photograph, we see a fantastic vivid-blue view of the Earth horizon over the illuminated western Atlantic Ocean. South half of Florida (center right of picture), Bahama Islands (Andros-Grand Bahama-Bimini), Cuba are visible below the spacecraft docked to the Agena in this photograph taken looking south with the SuperWide Hasselblad camera and its 38mm lens during the 15th orbit of the Earth.
Since the girdle that the Gemini program threw around the world did not extend as far north as south of Cape Kennedy, the astronauts’ photographs are predominantly views of the southern coast of the United States around the Gulf of Mexico. This is a region in which people have been quick to develop the resources available to them, and parts of it are now highly industrialized. Even so, when seen from space its beauty still rivals that of many undeveloped regions. [...] Above Florida’s east coast they (the astronauts) saw their starting point again, and sped east again and again to see more of the world. (NASA SP-171, pg. 227)
The second, very rare photograph was taken looking southeast with the Hasselblad SuperWide Camera and its 38mm lens loaded with Kodak film shows a wonderful vivid-blue view of the Earth over the Red Sea, United Arab Republic, Saudi Arabia, Nile Valley, Sinai. The Gemini spacecraft was docked to the Agena vehicle (whose antenna is visible at left) when the photograph was taken on the 25th orbit of the Earth.
“Everybody is interested in the Earth we live on. The astronauts just brought it home visually. Nobody could ever draw or paint it. I think their missions will live forever through photography.”
—Les Gaver, former photography director, Public Affairs, NASA (Schick and Van Haaften, pg. 12)
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© All texts by Victor Martin-Malburet