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"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."
- Robert Heinlein

Photograph of Earth from Space  
  An aerial photograph from outside the atmosphere.  

The first description of this that I've ever read. Also, it is the first use of satellite photography for reconnaissance that I know about.

"I have a color photograph here."

Bill studied it, saw that it looked like an aerial photograph of a vast stretch of mountain and desert, a monotonous expanse of gray, tinged with green and red.

A photograph, taken from space, of part of the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. And see!"

He pointed to a little blue disk in the green-gray expanse of a plain, just below a narrow mountain ridge, with the fine green line that marked a river just beside it.

"That blue circle is the first ship that came..."

From The Prince of Space, by Jack Williamson.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

The first actual pictures of the Earth from space were taken on March 7, 1947:

...a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert saw something new and wonderful in these grainy black-and-white-photos - the first pictures of Earth as seen from altitude greater than 100 miles in space. Just the year before in 1946, scientists like John T. Mengel, a NASA pioneer who later oversaw the Vanguard Program, began experimenting with captured German V-2 rockets.

Mengel conducted upper atmosphere experiments by launching the rockets into near-earth orbit. He designed and fabricated the first research nose shell to replace of the V-2 warhead and began placing cameras in the nose shell.

(Via First Pictures of Earth From 100 Miles in Space, 1947)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Prince of Space
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Williamson
  Tech news articles related to The Prince of Space
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Williamson

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