Friday, July 26, 2013

Planet Earth Says "Cheese"!

Did you #WaveAtSaturn on July 19th? I did from Austria and I said "Cheese!" 
Yes, I'm a space nerd...and proud of it :-)

Think of all that you know of the past, present, and future: people, places, things, memories, experiences, etc. Now look at this stunning image from the Cassini spacecraft near Saturn showing our Earth from 898 million miles away. Cassini has been orbiting Saturn for about fifteen years. Taken last Friday, July 19th, with the sun behind Saturn, its rings beautifully backlit, it's the first time Humanity has been aware of its being photographed as a whole.....HOW COOL IS THAT?! It was all over the internet and people were trying to drum up support across the globe to wave at Cassini during the window of photograph time.

It is the first interplanetary photograph of Earth taken in natural COLOR as well! In a couple of months, the full mosaic of photographs taken of Earth from this vantage point will be ready to view. I have to add that it's very nice to see Earth as we see other planets....little dots of dim illumination. It actually makes it much easier for me to imagine that we might truly be looking out into space upon another Earth like our own. Why not?
This image was taken on July 19, 2013 and used the wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft. What a stunning view of Saturn's rings and Earth. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

There have been only two images of Earth from the outer solar system in all the time humankind has been exploring space! The first one, taken by Voyager in February 1990 from four billion miles away, showed Earth as a pale blue dot.

The other was taken by Cassini in 2006 from 926 million miles away. This one used infrared and ultraviolet sensors instead of natural color. Still, it is STUNNING and will always be! 
A marvelous panoramic view of Saturn and it's stunning rings
Photo credit: NASA/JPL

Talk about perspective! Just how do you feel about being so small and precious, living in a "Habitable Zone", balanced JUST IN THE RIGHT SPOT for life to thrive? I'm in agreement with a large number of people (many scientists as well), that the more I read about, see, learn of our place in the Universe and space in general, the more it points to a Divine influence and creator. Whether or not you feel this way, you must admit that these photographs show us in a particular framework of being vulnerable and tiny within the vast cosmos. Within my lifetime, we WILL become interstellar explorers (I've been stalking Voyager data lately, will post about that very soon!) SO EXCITING FOR HUMANITY!!!!!

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