John Gribbin

Destination Moon

Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth

By

Yale University Press 236pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

This is a great idea for a book, but imperfectly executed; witness the irritating use of a partially italicized title. Robert Poole’s uncontentious theme is that humankind’s (he prefers ‘man’s’) view of ourselves and our home in the Universe was altered by the images of the Earth from space, especially those obtained by the Apollo astronauts. The image of the Earth rising over the horizon of the barren Moon, shining like a blue marble (or, in Carl Sagan’s words, a ‘pale blue dot’), adorned many students’ bedrooms in the 1970s, and helped to provide the impetus for the Green movement. It is a story worth telling, but it deserves a better treatment than this.

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