Image courtesy NASA Johnson Space Center Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
“The blue marble represents the famous photograph taken on December 7, 1972, by the NASA Apollo 17 crew—the most detailed shot of the Earth ever taken. We love this photo and reproduce it in many forms. So on a whim at a speaking engagement in 2009, I started giving out blue marbles. I said to the audience, ‘That’s the Earth. That’s what we look like. Take this marble and give it to somebody you want to say thank you to. Look the person straight in the eye and put the blue marble in his hand and ask him to pass it on.’
“After the event, I got more feedback than I’d gotten on my last 10 events combined. People started giving the marbles away, and before I knew it the idea had really taken off. Now more than a million people have received marbles and given them away, including the Pope and the Dalai Lama. I’ve had people come up to me and give me a marble, not realizing I’m the one who started the project. But that’s great because it’s not my campaign. It’s your campaign. If you get a marble you will pass it on. There’s no off switch to stop people from doing that.
“There are very few rules to participating, but one of them is that you have to actually hand the marble to another person. You can’t put them in a bowl or the bottom of a gift bag. It’s the physical exchange that sets the project in motion and forges a connection between the blue marble and the ‘Blue Mind’ message—which is to value and take care of our planet.”