The first photo showing the entire Earth was taken in 1966 from the spacecraft Lunar Orbiter 1. Since then, there are too many photos showing the whole earth taken from various missions to space.
The advent of computers in the 80s introduced a new technique of generating such pictures. A satellite can be used to take many photos of the Earth from a low orbit, and computers can be used to assemble those pictures into a single photo of the Earth.
Flat-Earthers ‘discovered’ such technique, then they concluded that all pictures of the Earth taken from space are all composites, the results of manipulation or assembled by computers. They are wrong. Just because there were pictures created using such technique, it doesn’t mean there is no genuine picture showing the entire Earth, not composites, not stitched, and were taken from a single shot.
There are actually plenty of product illustrations like cars and aircraft that were generated by computers. Such models were made as realistically as possible, without any intention to deceive. And that doesn’t become a problem for anyone, including flat-Earthers.
From the mere existence of composite photos of the Earth, we cannot conclude all photos are like that. Flat-Earthers are different; they would commit the fallacy of hasty generalization and infer the existence of a composite picture of the Earth as ‘evidence’ that all pictures of the Earth are composites, deliberately made to form like a sphere.
In many circumstances, flat-Earthers would demand evidence in the form of a real picture showing the entire Earth before they can accept the Earth is a sphere, as if there is no such picture. In reality, there are many such pictures. In fact, as of now there are satellites periodically sending a photo of the entire Earth many times in a day, and we can easily download the resulting images from the Internet.
After being shown such pictures, flat-Earthers would move the goalposts and demand the proof that the images are authentic. They would say such things because they are emotionally incited. In reality, we know the pictures are real like we know a lot of things around us. We know North Korea exists even if we never visited the country before. We know a cut of beef is beef just by reading the label. Most of us know our parents are our real parents even without DNA tests.
And more often than not, it is the other way around. Flat-Earthers would claim the pictures are all CGI even without feeling any need to provide the evidence of such assertions.
- Milestones in Space Photography – National Geographic
- Himawari-8 Real-time Web – NICT
- Change’e 5-T1 – Wikipedia
- EPIC – DSCOVR
- A pictorial history of Earth from space – New Atlas
- Lunar Orbiter 1 – Wikipedia
- Hasty Generalization – Logically Fallacious
- Faulty generalization – Wikipedia
Examples of Composite Pictures
The following pictures are composites, and often become an issue in flat-Earth circles after they are ‘discovered’.
- Earthrise – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
- Blue Marble 2001-2002
- Blue Marble 2012
- Black Marble 2012