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NASA spacecraft captures images of Earth from millions of miles away

This image of Earth and the moon was taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on July 19, 2013. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)
July 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two interplanetary NASA aircraft captured images of Earth and its moon from millions of miles away in space.

The Cassini spacecraft captured color photos of Earth from its perch in the Saturn system, nearly 900 miles away.

It was the first time Cassini's highest resolution camera captured Earth and its moon as two distinct objects.

View images of Earth and its moon captured by Cassini

It was also the first time people on Earth had advanced notice that their planet's portrait was being taken from space.

Also, NASA's MESSENGER took a black-and-white image of the Earth and its moon from a distance of 61 million miles.

View the image of Earth and its moon captured by MESSENGER

Pictures of Earth from the outer solar system are rare because from that distance, Earth appears very close to the sun. A camera's detectors can be damaged by looking directly at the sun, just as the human eye can sustain damage by doing the same.

According to NASA, Cassini was able to take this image because the sun had temporarily moved behind Saturn from the spacecraft's point of view and most of the light was blocked.


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