• Renaissance painters used principles of perspective to imagine what cities looked like from above, but no one knew for sure until photographer James Wallace Black went up over Boston in a hot-air balloon in 1860. The military saw beyond the entertainment factor, and northern photographers in hot-air balloons were soon tracking Confederate troops. Black's fascination with lofty views proved prescient: 150 years later, Google has taken a similar adventure via Google Earth, the satellite-imagery program that lets you view aerial scenery of the entire planet — and the moon, too.

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