Apollo Mission

Pulsack, Jacqueline | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Art & Graphics

On Christmas Eve in 1968, astronaut Bill Anders shot one of the most well-known photographs of the Earth—“Earthrise,” the photo that would change the way people viewed our planet. It became a symbol for the fragility of the Earth and an icon for the environmental movement that soon followed. In 1969, David Bower founded the “Friends of the Earth” association. The following year the first Earth Day was celebrated and a year after that Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver. Finally, the first UN conference on the environment took place in 1972 in Stockholm, and in the same year the first report to the Club of Rome entitled The Limits to Growth was published. The book was the first definitive study on sustainable development; for the first time, researchers clearly wrote about the limits of the Earth’s natural resources. “I think it is ironic,” said Anders in an interview with the Seattle Times, “that when we flew to the moon, we discovered the Earth.”


Apollo Mission
Jacqueline Pulsack

Earthrise: Apollo mission

Text and images by Jacqueline Pulsack
University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin

“The back of the moon… no one before us has ever seen this!


…basically it is just grey and dismal here. It kind of looks like cement or a grey sandy beach.


Guys, I am going to reorient the space capsule. Hold on.


“Let me have a look…”
“Awesome! Look at this! The earth is rising! Wow, how beautiful!”


“From this point of view the earth looks like an oasis in the desert of space… Quick, the camera!”


“This moment has made us realize how fragile our planet is…”


“…this picture of Earth shows us the limits of our world. We have to protect it!”


“Mr. Anders, your picture has become the symbol of the environmental movement. Would you have expected this?”
“Well, no… in fact, the photo is actually quite out of focus and not even very good.”


Author’s comment

The keyword “space travel” made me think about the first moon landing: “A giant step for mankind” (Armstrong). I imagined rocket engineers, astronauts, and nifty space technology. I was suprised that the photo “Earthrise,” which was the result of a spontaneous snapshot, became such an important image for us earthlings. 

 How to cite

Pulsack, Jacqueline. “Apollo Mission.” Environment & Society Portal, Multimedia Library, 2014. http://www.environmentandsociety.org/node/6642/.

The comic also appears in Alexandra Hamann, Reinhold Leinfelder, Helmuth Trischler, and Henning Wagenbreth, eds., Anthropozän – 30 Meilensteine auf dem Weg in ein neues Erdzeitalter. Eine Comic-Anthologie (Munich: Deutsches Museum, 2014).

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.