In her 2007 TED Talk, “This is Saturn,” planetary scientist Carolyn Porco blew some minds with images taken by Cassini, the robot spaceship launched in October 1997 to study and photograph Saturn and its accompanying moons. [ted_talkteaser id=178]Gleaning “oohs” and “aahs” from the assembled TED audience, she concluded with a stunning shot of a backlit picture of Saturn and its rings — with Earth in the background. It was quite a moment.
“People erupted to their feet. Obviously we Earthlings resonate with seeing ourselves as this dot in the distance,” Porco remembered of the moment in a recent telephone call. “And then I realized it was such a wasted opportunity. If people had known in advance that their picture was being taken, there would be an opportunity for high-fiving all over the planet!”
That time is now. Between 9:27 pm and 9:42 pm GMT on July 19th, Cassini will…
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