|The planet Earth seems a long way off, because it is. About a quarter of a million miles off. From the Moon, the Earth appeared as a beautiful blue-and-white marble. Occasionally, there was a small, orange area visible. I knew the orange areas were deserts, but just which ones was extremely difficult to tell. When I wanted to know which desert I was looking at, I would ask mission control which ground station was tracking us. If they could see us, we could see them.
The Moon, itself, was a foreboding place when viewed from orbit. Mostly gray with stark, angular mountains and deep, rough canyons and craters. It was as if nature had pounded the Moon again and again with a big, big hammer.
In contrast, our Earth was beautiful - all shiny and bright. It was hard to believe that everybody I had ever known - or seen on TV - and the places they lived and played were all on that little blue-and-white marble. It's still hard to believe.