Later today, at around 9:27 PM GMT, the Cassini spacecraft will take a picture of Earth from 1445 million kilometers away – right behind Saturn and its rings. If you stand around outside about an hour before the 15-minute exposure time begins, some of the light bouncing off your body is guaranteed to hit the Cassini spacecraft cameras (Light takes about 60 – 80 minutes to travel from here to Saturn, so you can take your time out there!)

Imagine a picture of yourself taken from more than a billion kilometers away, by a machine that we built more than 16 years ago.

Imagine looking up at the sky and knowing that around that ringed planet that we so dearly love is a spacecraft carrying a range of complex scientific instruments, a plutonium power source, and a few cameras. The cameras are sort of the robot’s way of showing its creator the things that it has seen and done over the last 16 years in space.

Earth will appear to be a single pixel in the vastness of the cosmos, and yet it has been home to every human, every family, every animal and every civilization in the entire history of our fragile planet.

Today’s photo will be a monument to the achievements of mankind – a lovely postcard from Cassini to the scientists who built it.

If that’s not romantic (and absolutely heart-warming), then I don’t know what is.

Black Hole Theater
 

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