This Friday is a very special day for Saturn fans everywhere, and especially those who follow the Cassini mission, because the Cassini spacecraft will take a picture of our home world from 1.44 billion kilometers away. Citizens of the planet Earth are invited to “Wave at Saturn” during this rare photo opportunity. Also in view will be the beautiful planet Saturn as it eclipses the sun, allowing Cassini to view our beautiful world from afar. The portrait will be taken this Friday at 2:27pm PDT. For more information, including viewing times in your time zone and links to the event’s Facebook page, click here.
Each time we look back at the earth from such a vast distance, it is a rare opportunity to see our world and indeed our entire species from a truly humbling and thought provoking perspective. When we step back and view ourselves and every other life on this earth, all together within a single Pale Blue Dot, we gain an opportunity to realize our closeness and the need for peace on our tiny world. With 7 billion people on the Earth, this is now even more important than it was when Dr. Carl Sagan made his famous remarks on the first such photo of the earth, the famous “Pale Blue Dot” photo taken from the Voyager I spacecraft.
This picture of the Earth, although it is the third such picture taken, marks the first time that it has been announced to the public ahead of time, giving people around the world the opportunity to share a unique perspective as it happens in real time. This is a collective self-portrait of the entire human race from a vantage point that cries out to us, beckoning us toward the stars.