The photo from the Cassini spacecraft shows planet Earth as a point of light between Saturn's icy rings.
Launched in 1997, Cassini arrived in the vicinity of Saturn in 2004. The spacecraft on Wednesday will hurtle through the 1,200-mile-wide gap (1,900 kilometers) between Saturn's atmosphere and its rings, at a breakneck 70,000-plus miles per hour (113,000 kph).
The spacecraft is running out of fuel, and will be driven into the atmosphere of Saturn and burnt up on the 15 September 2017.
What's more, though it is nearly impossible to tell due to its distance to the planet when the photo was taken, the portion of Earth facing Cassini in the photo was the southern Atlantic Ocean.
The Europa Clipper probe, which NASA plans to send to the Jupiter system in the 2020s, will fly by the moon 40 to 45 times as it orbits the Jovian world. It will also capture detailed images of the surface of the moon Titan using its strong radar, according to NASA. "We could put it into a very long orbit far from Saturn, but the science return from that would be nowhere near as good as what we're about to do". Then, it will turn its attention to Saturn's atmosphere, sniffing with a mass spectrometer and sending data back to Earth in real-time.
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On April 22, NASA scientists will give commands to Cassini to change its course.
Cassini's days are numbered, but the probe is making the most if its waning mission. The space agency wants to keep the 22-foot-high, 13-foot-wide spacecraft away from Titan and its lakes of liquid methane and from the ice-encrusted moon Enceladus and its underground ocean and spouting geysers. The recent discovery of this process on Enceladus gives strong indications of the presence of the primary ingredients needed for life to exist on Saturn's moon.
One reason scientists want to make sure Cassini is incinerated at the end of its journey is to ensure that any of its earthborn microbes do not contaminate the biotic or prebiotic worlds out there.
The mission, which is about to end some time this year, has definitely been a fruitful one, owing to all the wonderfully insightful information scientists have managed to glean from it.
"This is truly an exciting time for us to probe those [ocean worlds]", Green said. "But we are certainly going to provide more excitement".