Al Gore Dreamed Up a Satellite—and It Just Took Its First Picture of Earth

One night in February 1998, Vice President Al Gore awoke with a start.

He had dreamed of a satellite. It would sit far out in space, beyond the reach of more conventional orbiters, so distant it could capture all of planet Earth in one camera lens. It would then beam this view—the whole planetary disk, a la The Blue Marble—down to the planet below. The video would be live streamed on the Internet.

He couldn’t shake the idea. It had as much to do with sharing that vantage...

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