This fantastic photograph of extreme rarity was not published by NASA after the mission. The view of Earthrise was a great highlight of the mission, which the astronauts photographed with eagerness (see mission transcript).
Apollo 11 was the only mission to bring back such extraordinary views of Earthrise over a curved lunar horizon, showing a great expanse of the backside of the Moon. In the opinion of Richard Underwood, NASA chief of photography, Apollo 11 brought back “the best Earth rises and sets, by far.”
A half-Earth greeted the Command Module Columbia after it completed 30 revolutions around the Moon and made the rocket burn that sent it homeward. Following transEarth injection (TEI), Columbia had increased its altitude to over 800 km, which explains the increased curvature of the lunar surface. The photograph was taken with the Hasselblad 500EL equipped with the 80mm lens.
From the mission transcript when the photograph was taken:
Okay, we got to visually acquire Moon, take pictures, and then you got a P52 to do. [...]
What are you doing, Mike? What you taking pictures of...
Oh, I don’t know. Wasting film, I guess.
You can take some pretty good pictures out of the hatch, here.
You’re right. This crapping thing - [garble] set on f/4 or 5.6; that’s probably about right.
Here’s a ring that came from somewhere, I wonder where? (singing)
135:32:04 Armstrong (onboard):
You want to take pictures over here? Go ahead, why don’t you just set up that...
I’ll check Window 3.
...set up that tape and let it do its thing. It’s still got a long way to go for [garble].
Alright, now. Do we want black and white, color, 250, or 80? I’ve got all options over here.
Oh, we’ll probably want - How many cameras you got?
Let me have a camera. How many cameras?
Well, only one camera, but I’ve got [garble] lenses. [...]
Hey, I hope somebody’s getting the picture of the Earth coming up.
[Garble]. Not quite pitched far enough. Well, maybe I can get it out...
I can get around to here.
[Garble] your window.
Upside down, turn the camera upside down. Then it’ll look right.
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© All texts by Victor Martin-Malburet