Here’s What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space

Before we actually went to space, we had some ideas about what Earth might look like

20130913105712pic_1990-5037_PB14_0022.jpg
Library of Congress

These days, we have a lot of images of Earth from space. Which is awesome. But before we went to space, we had some ideas about what Earth might look like, too.

Recently, the Library of Congress featured a few of those images on its blog.Here’s one from 1874, in a book called The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite.

Trevor Owens, a special curator for the library’s Science Literacy Initiative writes:

The images in this book are mostly photographs of plaster models based on observations of amateur astronomer James Nasmyth. Most of the images in this book are modeled on their direct observations, but this one represents the view of the Earth from the moon. Part of considering the moon as a world, a place like Earth, required this kind of shift in perspective. Seeing the Earth eclipse the sun from the Moon makes it feel much more like a real world.

In 1893, the book Astronomy for Beginners featured this image of Earth from an unnamed viewpoint in their chapter on “Visitors.”

Here’s What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space
Archive.org

In 1898, the book The Story of the Sun, Moon, and Stars included this image of the Earth seen from the moon.

Here’s What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space
Archive.org

Here, we have an image from Camille Fammarion from 1904. The little arrow points to Earth as it might look from the surface of Mercury:

Here’s What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space
Gutenberg.org

In 1920, the science fiction book A Trip to Mars included this illustration of Earth from the red planet:

Here’s What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space
Archive.org

And here, for context, is what the Earth looks like from the moon, taken by the Apollo 8 crew in 1968.

Here’s What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space
NASA

More from Smithsonian.com:

Earth from Space
Beautiful New Earth-From-Space Footage from NASA