|Earth Strikes a Pose Beneath Saturn's Rings|
|By JON M. CHANG (@JonMChang)||Jul 23, 2013, 9:52 AM|
The Cassini spacecraft took a day off from exploring Saturn's rings and weather patterns to snap a photo of Earth. Like Voyager 1 revealed in 1990 when it took a photo of the planet from the edge of the solar system, Earth really does look like a pale blue dot.
Cassini was nearly 900 million miles away when it snapped several photos of Earth. One of its photos marks the first time that the spacecraft was able to see the moon and Earth as two distinct celestial objects.
The event also marked the first time that people were notified that they could be a participant in the photo shoot. NASA encouraged people to take pictures of themselves waving at Saturn.
Carolyn Porco, the Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Colorado, said in a statement, "It thrills me to no end that people all over the world took a break from their normal activities to go outside and celebrate the interplanetary salute between robot and maker that these images represent."
Another spacecraft also joined the fun. Messenger, which is currently surveying Mercury, also took some time out of its mission for a snapshot of Earth. Since it's only a mere 61 million miles away, both Earth and the moon look much brighter compared to what Cassini saw.