For those who have seen the Earth from space,
and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands
more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we
share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us.
- Donald Williams, USA
My first view - a panorama of brilliant deep blue
ocean, shot with shades of green and gray
and white - was of atolls and clouds. Close to the window I could see that this Pacific scene
in motion was rimmed by the great curved limb of the Earth. It had a thin halo of blue held
close, and beyond, black space. I held my breath, but something was missing - I felt strangely
unfulfilled. Here was a tremendous visual spectacle, but viewed in silence. There was no
grand musical accompaniment; no triumphant, inspired sonata or symphony. Each one of
us must write the music of this sphere for ourselves.
- Charles Walker, USA
Looking outward to the blackness of space, sprinkled
with the glory of a universe of lights, I
saw majesty - but no welcome. Below was a welcoming planet. There, contained in the thin,
moving, incredibly fragile shell of the biosphere is everything that is dear to you, all the
human drama and comedy. That's where life is; that's were all the good stuff is.
- Loren Acton, USA
The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly
alone, our home that must be defended
like a holy relic. The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round
meant until I saw Earth from space.
- Aleksei Leonov, USSR
The sun truly ``comes up like thunder,'' and it
sets just as fast. Each sunrise and sunset lasts
only a few seconds. But in that time you see at least eight different bands of color come and
go, from a brilliant red to the brightest and deepest blue. And you see sixteen sunrises and
sixteen sunsets every day you're in space. No sunrise or sunset is ever the same.
- Joseph Allen, USA
The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament
hanging in the blackness of space.
As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a
marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object
looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall
apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God
and the love of God.
- James Irwin, USA
Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in
long, slow-motion moments of immense
majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere
laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea
of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth . . . home.
- Edgar Mitchell, USA
My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.
- Edgar Mitchell, USA
For the first time in my life I saw the horizon
as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin
seam of dark blue light - our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been
told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.
- Ulf Merbold, Federal Republic of Germany
A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm
a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty,
become her protectors rather than her violators. That's how I felt seeing the Earth for the
first time. I could not help but love and cherish her.
- Taylor Wang, China/USA