NASA in month of July 2013 has released colour and black-and-white images of Earth and the Moon, as bright guiding light, taken from two interplanetary spacecraft millions of miles away in space.
It was NASA's Cassini spacecraft which has captured the colour images of Earth and the Moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 1.5 billion kilometers away. It was also the first time Cassini's highest-resolution camera captured Earth and its Moon as two distinct objects.
NASA's Cassini spacecraft which was named MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 98 million kilometers as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet. In the MESSENGER image, Earth and the moon are less than a pixel, but appear very large because they are overexposed.
As per the images taken by the Cassini, the Earth and the Moon appear as mere dots - Earth appeared as a pale blue and the Moon as a stark white, visible between Saturn's rings.
The outstanding feature of the image taken was that it was the first time people on Earth had advance notice their planet's portrait was being taken from interplanetary distances which saw participation of more than 20000 people around the world.
It is worth mentioning here that pictures of Earth from the outer solar system are rare because from that distance, Earth appears very close to our Sun. A camera's sensitive detectors can be damaged by looking directly at the Sun, just as human beings can damage his or her retina by doing the same.
When: July 2013