You might be familiar with Carolyn Porco’s 2007 TED talk, in which she introduced the world to some truly breathtaking photos taken from the Cassini robot spacecraft (launched in 2007). Well, Cassini is still up there, and on July 19th (from 4:27pm-4:42pm CST), it will be snapping another high-res photo of Saturn that is once again expected to feature earth in the backdrop, though this time in natural color. This will be the first time in history the people of Earth have known in advance their picture is being taken by a spacecraft millions and millions of miles away.
To celebrate, Porco and the Cassini team are encouraging people to spend a few moments outside during the actual photo time (you can look that up for your local area here) to reflect on and celebrate our existence, and to maybe even smile or wave for the camera. The event is officially titled, The Day the Earth Smiled.
For a very brief history of seeing our “pale blue dot” from space, and the impact that can have on our perspectives, see Robert Krulwich’s recent blog post highlighting several famous pictures here. And please don’t miss this –