NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

This Photo of Earth Peeking Through Saturn's Rings Is Giving Us All The Feels

"That's here. That's home."

MIKE MCRAE
25 APR 2017
 

On Valentine's Day, 1990, a member of the Voyager imaging team named Carl Sagan pointed the probe backwards as it was heading out of the Solar System and took a series of snapshots showing our world as a "pale blue dot".

More than a quarter of a century later it seems we still love a good space-selfie, with NASA again snapping Earth from far away, only this time peeking through Saturn's rings, and with the Moon barely visible as a smudge of grey.

 

Sagan was so captivated by the photo taken of the tiny speck of light amid so much empty space he named a book after it titled Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Looking at this latest image, it's not hard to see why he was so inspired by just a handful of pixels – Earth from 1.4 billion kilometres (870 million miles) away might be small on detail, but it makes a big statement.

Cranking up the contrast a touch helps our Moon stand out, as seen below.

cassini moon picNASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

A collaboration between NASA, the ESA, and the Italian Space Agency, the Cassini-Huygens mission has orbited Saturn since 2004, shooting streams of data on the planet and its moons back to Earth in glorious detail.

Alas, in September this year, the tiny golden spacecraft will use the last of its fuel and plunge as a fireball into the gas giant's clouds, cremated in an effort to avoid accidental contamination of Saturn's moons.

 

In its final months, however, there's no doubt NASA will be wringing every last drop of information from the probe's sensors.

Not that every image it sends needs to be appreciated scientifically or be packed full of high-resolution glory – sometimes it's worth taking a moment to reflect back on how far we've come.

"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," Sagan wrote.

It pays to remember in moments of great discoveries, we are just a few pixels in space.

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