LUNAR ORBITER I.
THE FIRST IMAGE OF THE EARTH AS SEEN FROM THE MOON.
Silver gelatin print, 13½ by 10½ inches, on Kodak paper. August 23, 1966. NASA image number 67-H-218, GRIN database number GPN-2000-001588.
Taken from Lunar Orbiter I on its 16th orbit just before passing behind the moon. The Lunar Orbiter cameras were a technological feat that almost defies belief. Each Orbiter carried a Kodak camera equipped with two lenses, a lower resolution (or wide-angle) 80 mm lens, and a 610mm high-resolution (or telephoto) lens. Each exposure resulted in two simultaneous photographs, a wide-angle view, and a telephoto view. The exposures were made onto a roll of 70 mm film, which was moved during exposure to compensate for the spacecraft's velocity.
The film was then processed on board the Orbiter, by a method Kodak invented called Bimatsomewhat akin to the Polaroid process. Next, the developed film passed through an analog scanner which transmitted the data back to Earth by radio (technology largely derived from television broadcasting and developed by the R&D wing of CBS). The data was gathered by three NASA Deep Space Network receiving stations: Goldstone, CA; South Africa, or later Madrid, Spain; and Woomera, Australia. The data was then sent on to the Army Map Service and NASA Langley. The video signal was converted into variations of light on a cathode ray tube, and the image produced was captured on positive film by a 35 mm camera. Each film positive is known as a framelet, and the Orbiter's original photograph is recreated by placing the framelets side by side. That film positive is considered zero-generation, and from it were produced negatives, from them contact prints, and so forth.