From its perch in the Saturn system, NASA's Cassini spacecraft took pictures of Earth from nearly 900 million miles (nearly 1.5 billion kilometers) today. To celebrate the first time the public has had advance notice that Earth's portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances, scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other Earthlings elsewhere gathered to wave at Saturn on July 19. Cassini took pictures of Earth between 2:27 and 2:42 p.m. PDT today.
The Earth images are part of a larger mosaic of the Saturn system that Cassini is taking while in Saturn's shadow. The mosaic will help scientists learn more about the fainter rings encircling Saturn.
The processing of the Earth image is expected to take a few days, and processing of the full Saturn system mosaic will likely take several weeks.
Members of the public can share pictures from the event by using the hashtag #waveatsaturn on Twitter, or uploading pictures to the event's Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wave_at_saturn/. The event's Facebook page is: http://bit.ly/waveatsaturn.
Those who waved at Saturn today can download a certificate of participation at: http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/waveatsaturn/certificate/.
For more information, visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/waveatsaturn.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, and designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras.
Jia-Rui C. Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.