Even after all these years and scores of films, it's still cool to watch documentaries and films that show us all manner of computer generated animations simulating what it looks like to view the Earth from millions of miles away. But what's even cooler is to see the "real" versions of those images of the Earth from deep space. This week NASA released a photo that gives us a stunning view of our planet from the vantage point of one of the most visually interesting planets in our solar system: Saturn.
Shot using a wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft, the image shows Earth as a tiny spec of light 900 million miles away, partially framed by the beautiful rings of Saturn. What makes the image even more rare is the fact that such views of the Earth are not usually possible due to the brilliance of the nearby Sun.
Commenting on the fantastic imagery, Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker said:
"We can't see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19. 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."
Stunning stuff. Just stunning.