Courtesy of NASA
Unfortunately not many people will be able to see this one firsthand, but even high resolution images of the Earth from outer space can be pretty breathtaking. Satellite photos are appreciated for their aesthetic value now. The first photograph of Earth from outer space is a grainy black-and-white taken by a 35 millimeter movie camera in 1947 [source: Reichhardt]. Even this captivated researchers, but the rocket that flew the camera into space was unmanned. When Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly into outer space 14 years later, his post flight description was this:
"There was a good view of the Earth which had a very distinct and pretty blue halo. It had a smooth transition from pale blue, blue, dark blue, violet and absolutely black. It was a magnificent picture" [source: Polfeldt].
Since that flight space exploration has never been the same. It's doubtful that anyone who has ever witnessed the Earthrise was any less awe-struck as Gagarin was. Perhaps with continued colonization efforts and space tourism, more people can witness this sight firsthand.