You don’t have to fly beyond the orbit of Neptune to see our home planet as a Pale Blue Dot. One of the first nanosatellites to travel beyond Earth orbit has proven that in a new version of the view first made famous by “Cosmos” astronomer Carl Sagan.
This picture, showing Earth as a bluish speck and the moon as a faint blip, was captured by one of the two MarCO CubeSats that were launched toward Mars on May 5 as piggyback payloads for NASA’s Mars InSight mission.
Each of the MarCO (“Mars Cube One”) probes is roughly the size of a small briefcase, and stuffed with experimental equipment that will come into play during their Red Planet flyby in November.
Last week, the MarCO-B spacecraft (also known as Wall-E) snapped a picture with its wide-field color camera to check the deployment of its high-gain antenna.
The good news is that the pint-sized antenna has unfolded properly, as seen in the picture. The better news is that Earth and the moon showed up in the frame as well.