YinofYang
4 years ago1,000+ Views
Humbling Views of Earth from Distant Spacecraft
From Andrew Fazekas on nationalgeographic.com: "The solar system just got a bit smaller thanks to two awe-inspiring portraits of Earth and the moon taken from nearly the opposite sides of the solar system. On Friday July 19th, Earth got a great two for one deal. Both NASA’s Cassini spacecraft at Saturn, nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away, and the MESSENGER probe, orbiting Mercury 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) away captured a tiny pixelated image of Earth and the moon. (Related: Earth Photobombs Saturn Shot.) Positioned on the far-side of Saturn, Cassini’s highest resolution cameras were able to convey Earth as a pale blue dot and the white moon between Saturn’s rings. “Cassini’s picture reminds us how tiny our home planet is in the vastness of space, and also testifies to the ingenuity of the citizens of this tiny planet to send a robotic spacecraft so far away from home to study Saturn and take a look-back photo of Earth,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California in a press statement. The Mercury orbiter also caught an even tinier, black and white glimpse of Earth and the moon – both less than a pixel in size. The pair of bright star-like features in the right panel are Earth and moon as it appeared to MESSENGER's camera. The computer-generated image on the right shows how the Earth appeared from Mercury at the time. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington The pair of bright star-like features in the right panel are Earth and moon as it appeared to MESSENGER’s camera. The computer-generated image on the left shows how the Earth appeared from Mercury at the time. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington “That images of our planet have been acquired on a single day from two distant solar system outposts reminds us of this nation’s stunning technical accomplishments in planetary exploration,” said Sean Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator in a press statement. “And because Mercury and Saturn are such different outcomes of planetary formation and evolution, these two images also highlight what is special about Earth. There’s no place like home.”
5 comments
Definitely makes one feel very humble.
4 years ago·Reply
We are all but specks of dust in the vast universe....
4 years ago·Reply
@BlackMage @minjaeturtles I felt the same when I saw this. It's wondrous, really. I have some videos here I posted some time ago that does the planet/star comparisons. It's just...wow.
4 years ago·Reply
One of those funny little coincidences in life... just a few weeks ago I was going through a bunch of old Internet videos I'd downloaded years ago. One of them was from someone who took a clip of Carl Sagan reading from his book "Pale Blue Dot" and made a video of it. The book was inspired by a picture of Earth taken by Voyager in 1990 (which this reminds me of very much). I managed to find the video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pfwY2TNehw I love the way Sagan phrases it - everything we've ever known, every triumph and tragedy, every human that's ever lived, has been confined to this tiny dot in the vast universe. Even from inside our own solar system, there's no sign of us or anything we've built.
4 years ago·Reply
@GarrusVakarian It is funny, those coincidences and you're right. I loved a lot of the things he said in it.
4 years ago·Reply
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