16 August 2009

Bella Gaia

A view of the whole Earth from space is one of those innumerable, invaluable gifts that the human race has given to itself as a result of the space program.

The first such view, Astronaut Bill Anders' 1968 photograph now called Earthrise (right), has been called 'the most influential environmental photograph ever taken'. At the time, however, it's impact was unanticipated. The expectation that such an image might be captured wasn't even on NASA's agenda; Anders famously joked that the photograph wasn't scheduled.

But now the view has become ubiquitous, and as a result I suppose it's easy to become hardened against its aesthetic and symbolic power. A new project called Bella Gaia by Kenji Williams is helping to recapture the romance - and the message - of Earthrise. Here's a clip:

From this, it seems to me that Bella Gaia is a kind of modern-day Earthrise. Using up-to-the-minute technology, it evokes awe at the same time as instilling a message of oneness and fragility.

We hope that the Beagle Project - espeically through our collaboration with NASA - will make a significant contribution to whole-earth science tied with public engagement.

h/t @bethbeck

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