That’s here; that’s home; that’s us. The image above shows what Earth looked like to NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on April 13, 2017 as it flew past Saturn’s night-shadowed A and F rings. At the time the raw images were captured Saturn and Cassini were about 889.6 million miles (1.43 billion kilometers) from Earth. From that distance our entire world—and everyone on it—is just another tiny light in the dark.
It’s not the first time Cassini has spotted Earth from Saturn, but it is the most recent. And each time we see our planet like this, I can’t help but recall the immortal words of Dr. Carl Sagan:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” (Pale Blue Dot, 1994)
You can find the original raw image here; I colored it by duplicating the blue channel data into the red and green in Photoshop and adjusting to approximate “Saturny” hues, taking into consideration the night side illumination. The image above is not calibrated or officially catalogued.
NOTE: The Moon is also in this image, although a bit hard to see in the colored version I made, which is based off of blue light only. Check out the official release from NASA to see the Moon too.
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