While a remarkable image at the time, the full resolution of the image was never retrieved from the mission's data. Daguerreotype of the Moon from March 1840, attributed to Dr. John William Draper. Image: NASA At the time, the agency was preparing for an eventual lunar landing and needed reconnaissance photos to find the best possible spot on the surface of the moon. In honor of the winter solstice, December 21, the shortest day and longest night of the year, LightBox present the story behind the first photograph ever taken of the moon. Original image courtesy of Prof. Baryd Still, NYU Archives. The first photo of Earth from the moon was taken on August 23, 1966. In 2008, this earthrise image was restored by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project at NASA Ames Research Center. See how the first photo of Earth from the moon was taken. On Aug. 23, 1966, NASA's Lunar Orbiter 1 snapped the first photo of Earth as seen from lunar orbit. The first picture of Earth from space was taken in 1946 aboard a V-2 rocket, but it was grainy and barely recognizable as Earth. These days anyone with a cheap point-and-shoot camera or even a cell phone can snap a picture of the Moon (although I highly advise using at least an entry-level dSLR) but there was a time when that wasn’t the case. The first view of Earth rising over the moon was taken not by an astronaut, but by NASA's unmanned Lunar Orbiter 1.

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