This Is How The Earth Looks Through Saturn’s Rings
A new photo captured by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows Earth in a new light -- in fact, as a point of light peeking between Saturn’s icy rings. The spacecraft took the image on April 12, 2017, when it was around 1.4 billion kilometers away from the planet.
According to a Deccan Chronicle report, the part of the planet Earth that can be seen in the image happens to be the southern Atlantic Ocean. However, the photo of Earth is far too small to actually view it. Earth’s natural satellite, the Moon, can also be seen in the image.
At the top of the image, one can see the outer part of Saturn’s A ring with its Keeler and Encke gaps. The F ring of the giant gas planet can be seen at the bottom (see video below). Incidentally, the entire ring system of Saturn covers 65,700 kilometers.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of the American space agency -- NASA -- the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), which was launched 20 years ago. After more than 12 years of exploration, since it reached the Saturn system, the spacecraft’s propellant tanks are almost empty. However, it will go on taking pictures as well as sending data back to Earth.
The probe has helped to discover some of the moons of Saturn. Cassini has also gathered important information to help scientists know that habitable conditions for life to exist flourish in the oceans of Enceladus, which is also a moon of the ringed planet.
The mission is slated for its end with a dive into Saturn’s atmosphere on Sep. 15 this year. During the course of the final dive, Cassini will create detailed maps of the planet’s magnetic and gravitational fields so that scientists know more about Saturn’s composition. The probe will also measure the material in the space between Saturn’s D ring and its atmosphere during the 22 dives, Space.com reported.