On July 19, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which is currently exploring the Saturn system, was in a position to face Earth and capture an image of how our planet appeared from nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. The mission team hyped the event as “the first time that inhabitants of Earth knew in advance that their planet was being imaged” and decided to therefore encourage public participation.
The result? The “Wave at Saturn” campaign, which asked space enthusiasts around the world to stop for a moment July 19 and wave to the sky, capturing their greetings on camera and submitting them to NASA. Although Cassini’s cameras would not resolve individual hand-waves (our planet is a tiny pale blue dot on the released image), the space agency wanted to celebrate anyone who participated. So, to commemorate the success of the event, NASA has released a mosaic of the more than 1,400 images collected that came from 40 countries and 30 U.S. states.
Maybe not as awesome as actually being photographed by a spacecraft, but still pretty cool, right?
Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech