The "Blue Marble" is an iconic image. Since the first Blue Marble was taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew 28,000 miles away from Earth, it has since undergone a few updates as technology improved.
The picture of Earth earned the term "Blue Marble" since astronauts felt it looked like a glass marble.
This week, the Blue Marble image went to the next level of high-def. NASA released the new, highest resolution image of Earth taken by its VIIRS (Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite) instrument on its Suomi NPP satellite. According to the release, NPP is "the first of a new generation of satellites that will observe many facets of our changing Earth."
This image is a composite that "uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface" taken on Jan. 4, 2012.
Here is the original caption that went along with the 1972 Blue Marble: View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is Madagascar. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast.