Cassini to Photograph Earth From Deep Space
June 19, 2013: On July 19, 2013, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will photograph Saturn and its entire ring system during a total eclipse of the sun. Cassini has done this twice before during its previous 9 years in orbit, but this time will be different.
"While Earth will be only about a pixel in size from Cassini's vantage point 1.44 billion kilometers away, the team is looking forward to giving the world a chance to see what their home looks like from Saturn," says Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We hope you'll join us in waving at Saturn from Earth, so we can commemorate this special opportunity."
Unlike two previous Cassini eclipse mosaics of the Saturn system in 2006, which captured Earth, and another in 2012, the July 19 image will be the first to capture the Saturn system with Earth in natural color, as human eyes would see it. It also will be the first to capture Earth and its moon with Cassini's highest-resolution camera. The probe's position will allow it to turn its cameras in the direction of the sun, where Earth will be, without damaging the spacecraft's sensitive detectors.
"Ever since we caught sight of the Earth among the rings of Saturn in September 2006 in a mosaic that has become one of Cassini's most beloved images, I have wanted to do it all over again, only better," says Porco. "This time, I wanted to turn the entire event into an opportunity for everyone around the globe to savor the uniqueness of our planet and the preciousness of the life on it."
To learn more about the public outreach activities associated with the taking of the image, visit: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/waveatsaturn .
Cassini home page @ nasa.gov
Cassini home page @ JPL
Captain's Log -- beautifully-written commentary on Cassini images penned by Carolyn Porco
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, and designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras. The imaging team consists of scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.