In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.
I think we can call this Pale Blue Dot 2.1. Version 1 was the original snapped from Voyager 1 on Carl Sagan’s suggestion back in 1990 and to which my song Pale Blue Dot is an homage. Version 2.0 was taken by Cassini in 2006. So the “wave to Saturn” photo captured on the 19th July 2013, is 2.1. It does put us in our place, adds some serious perspective and should remind us that, in Sagan’s words:
Consider again 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.
Brings a lump to my throat every time I read those words or tell other people about them.
via Space Images: The Day the Earth Smiled: Sneak Preview – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.