As it continues to make some of its final flybys of the Saturn system, the Cassini spacecraft hasn’t entirely forgone looking back toward its home planet, Earth. And last week the spacecraft’s camera snapped a shot of Earth and the Moon (visible in a close-cropped view) from a distance of 1.4 billion km away.
Some of Saturn’s rings are also visible in the new images, including the A ring (at top) with the Keeler and Encke gaps visible, and the F ring (at bottom). The Sun is behind the disk of Saturn from Cassini’s perspective, so the rings are backlit in this view.
After more than a decade of incredible successes, Cassini is nearing the end of its mission. Next up for the spacecraft is a final flyby of the intriguing moon Titan, and its hydrocarbon seas. Cassini will fly to within 979km of Titan’s surface on Friday, before beginning a series of plunges between the planet and its innermost ring, a gap of just 2,400km. Finally, on September 15, it will fly silently, and forever, into the planet’s atmosphere.
Listing image by NASA