back to article Planetary paparazzi snap candid pics of Earth, Moon from space

NASA has released rare photographs of the Earth taken from unusual vantage points – namely, spacecraft orbiting planets millions of miles away. On Saturday, July 19, NASA's Cassini probe took color photos of the Earth and its moon from its orbit around Saturn, some 900 million miles (1.5 billion km) distant. At the same time …

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  1. Steven Roper

    Pale Blue Dot

    Another fantastic image from Cassini, putting our tiny world into perspective. Once again, I am reminded of the the words of the great Carl Sagan, and his "pale blue dot" speech which never fails to choke me up and bring tears to my eyes, every time I hear it.

    For me, the moment of clarity is when I hear the one sentence from that speech which is the crux of the whole thing: "There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world."

    1. Steve Crook

      Re: Pale Blue Dot

      Ultimately though, it changes nothing. We are where we are, our problems and their solutions remain unchanged.

      In fact, it takes some of the pressure off. What if we weren't insignificant? What if there were other civilisations utterly dependent on our actions, imagine the concern and worry about making the right decisions. It would be very stressful.

      At least we can be certain we can completely fuck things up and the universe will continue, utterly unmoved by our stupidity...

  2. Captain DaFt

    Here's a thought

    To drive home the point of just how small and vulnerable the Earh is, all such pictures should have this caption under the arrow:

    "You are here. All of you."*

    *Yes, that includes the crew on the ISS too. In those shots, it's part of the same pixel!

  3. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alien

    Now THIS is awe inspiring.

    Makes deity worship seem, well, primitive and very silly.

    1. Florida1920
      Thumb Up

      Re: Now THIS is awe inspiring.

      "How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?' Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths."

      "Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "This is better than we thought!"

        I cannot agree more.

        The Universe created less than 10,000 years ago ? Pah ! The God I believe in can count beyond 10,000. The God I believe in knows that His glory is much better served by a Universe that is older and more mind-boggingly vast than the human mind can comprehend. The God I believe in has given us Intelligence to percieve His greatness, and a language with which to formulate it. That language is Science (mathematics+physics).

        And the beauty of it all is that you don't even have to believe in God to improve our understanding of His creation.

        I will start paying attention to Creationist theories when :

        1) a Creationist gets a Nobel Prize in Physics

        2) a Creationist can explain why God would tell us "Thou Shalt Not Lie", yet create a 10,000 year-old Universe that LOOKS like it is billions of years old (believe in a Do-As-I-Say-Not-As-I-Do god ? No thank you !)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "This is better than we thought!"

          Using arguments of rationale with people who proudly and ferociously deny rationale, is doomed by definition. If logical and rational reasoning, backed up by peer reviewed evidence is not enough to convince, nothing will.

          When I hear people who obstinately deny the scientific process and its findings, I can't help thinking they have serious delusional issues, or more probably, they have a not-altogether wholesome agenda.

  4. Chemist

    Sorry but ...

    I want an arrow and "Mostly Harmless"

    Thanks Douglas

    1. Yag

      Re: Sorry but ...

      Those pictures remind me of the Total Perspective Vortex...

      I'll edit the Cassini one and add a helpful "YOU ARE HERE" behind the arrow.

      1. Anonymous John

        Re: Sorry but ...

        Technically known as a ideo locator.

    2. Annihilator Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Sorry but ...

      That dot, it obstructs my view of Venus! (which makes me very angry)

      Yours sincerely,

      Marvin T. Martian

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Saturday, July 19?

    Doh. I worked all day on the 19th - They told me it was a Friday at the time.

  6. teebie

    Awesome, that's where i live

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Such beauty in these photographs contrasts with the ignorance in many of the here.

    While we look at that delicate dot, the irony is sad as people say "why can't we all get along together, we all live on that dot, there should be peace and respect and tolerance and love, that's what **I** want, unlike those dumb theists who are too thick to not believe in their non-existent deity. What idiots! Why can't they be inclusive and good like me?"

  8. boltar Silver badge

    Lets not get carried away

    Yes earth is beneath insignificance in the scheme of things, but its significant to us and thats what matters so its a bit dishonest just look at a picture of the earth from a long way off and say the usual hippie "human affairs are irrelevant - lets all just give each other a big hug" guff. No their not and I'd rather not thanks.

    However from a technical point of view these photos are an amazing achievement. Such a pity Nasa is being starved of funds by pig ignorant politicians. But then at least the USA has a space agency , which is more than we do in the UK (aside from a few satellite manufacturers) after the utter morons in the 60s governments flushed all our efforts down the toilet.

  9. Benchops

    I still get blown away by the thought we can get a picture of the other side of Saturn!

  10. Mr C
    Alien

    In space no-one can hear you scream

    I have it from a reliable source that aliens also snap mobile phone pics when they do a flyby during their summer holiday.

    Shuuurely if we ask nicely the NSA will share some nice pics they got from interstellar alien snooping?

    Srsly, awesome accomplishment :)

  11. Mister_C

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/19/colorado_town_mulls_selling_federal_drone_hunting_licenses/

    Go on, Redneck, give it your best shot....

  12. Otto von Humpenstumpf
    Happy

    It's kind of nce to know that...

    ...when you're returning from your interplanetary travels, you can already see your home by the time you pass Saturn, and you know it's only a few million miles more. Which is nice.

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Amazing.

    Mariner-Mars returning pictures was the top headline in the local paper on the day I was born http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=hXZnTIgIr50C&dat=19650715&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

    They say it took "as many as 21 photos" and each photo took 8 hours to send.

    Today I simulated going to the moon in Kerbal Space Program on my PC.

    Progress is amazing.

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