Image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows Earth between rings of Saturn

Spacecraft captures image more than 870 million miles away from Earth

Saturday 22 April 2017 18:24
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A new image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows the Earth between the rings of Saturn.

A small point of light can be seen between the icy rings and although it isn’t possible to tell from the image, the part of Earth facing Cassini in the photo is the southern Atlantic Ocean.

The spacecraft captured the image more than 870 million miles away from Earth. A very faint dot is also visible to the left of the bright speck, which is the Earth’s moon.

The Cassini spacecraft was launched 20 years ago and for its final mission will be sent into Saturn’s atmosphere.

After more than 12 years of exploration the probe’s propellant tanks are almost empty but in its final days it will continue to send pictures and data back to Earth.

Cassini has so far helped to discover some of Saturn’s moons and also learned that all the conditions for life to exist thrive in the oceans of Enceladus.

It will eventually break apart and melt as it enters Saturn’s atmosphere and will burn up like a meteor.

Saturn is the second-largest planet in the Solar System after Jupiter and has 62 confirmed or potential moons.

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