NASA releases planetary selfie taken by Cassini spacecraft
Images taken last Thursday by both Cassini spacecraft have been successfully received, and processed. On Monday, NASA released the anticipated shot of Earth, which was taken from 898 million miles away, right next to Saturn.
Last Thursday, NASA encouraged people to step outside their homes and wave towards Saturn between 5:27 p.m. and 5:42 p.m ET, so they could get in on the photograph. As it turns out, it’s pretty hard to see anybody on Earth from Saturn – or any of the continents for that matter.
While participants in last week’s photographs won’t be able to see their poses from deep space, NASA encouraged users to upload their own pictures to Twitter with hashtag #waveatsaturn.
The resulting photograph is an awesome spectacle – a stunning view of creation from the sixth planet, with a very seldom seen perspective of earth as a small speck in its vastness. Also stunning, of course, is the accomplishment of the Cassini spacecraft, to make it so far into deep space to take this planetary selfie.
Of course, the distance of the Cassini spacecraft isn’t much in comparison to Voyager 1, which encountered Saturn more than thirty years ago, and is now very deep into space (approximately 125 AU, or 11,619,475,912 miles). In 1990, it took the following shot of the earth, which has come to be known as the Pale Blue Dot.
As unspectacular as the earth may seem from millions of miles away, it’s impossible not to feel some sense of grandeur when we know just how big a world that one pixel is.