(Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
The Earth has been shown from Saturn and Mercury in some amazing photos from the Cassini spacecraft and the Messenger probe respectively.
The Cassini took the stunning photos from nearly 900 million miles away. The spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, but recently was able to snap a few shots of Earth, which can just about be seen as a tiny light dot in the background.
Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has said in a statement, "We can't see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19."
The statement added, "Cassini's picture reminds us how tiny our home planet is in the vastness of space, and also testifies to the ingenuity of the citizens of this tiny planet to send a robotic spacecraft so far away from home to study Saturn and take a look-back photo of Earth."
In addition to the amazing shots from the Cassini, other photos were taken by the Messenger probe, which was orbiting Mercury 61 million miles away. The probe took photos of the Earth and its moon.
Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. has said, "It thrills me to no end that people all over the world took a break from their normal activities to go outside and celebrate the interplanetary salute between robot and maker that these images represent."
She added, "The whole event underscores for me our 'coming of age' as planetary explorers."