The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is impressive… and expensive. Thankfully, the $3 billion (U.S.) Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project that combines the efforts, experience, and resources of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Italian Space Agency (ISA).
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology designed, developed, and assembled the Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras—which turned toward Earth this month to snap some impressive images. (Read more about the photo on the last blog entry.)
The space probe wasn’t the only spacecraft in the outer solar system taking pictures and sending them home this month. While Cassini-Huygens captured images of Earth while facing the Americas, another of NASA’s robotic spacecraft—the Messenger—acquired images all of Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Messenger, the very first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, is taking photographs in search of natural satellites in the vicinity of the closest planet to the sun; and, it just so happens that Earth is included in pictures captured in the same time period as Cassini-Huygen’s photo shoot of Earth: July 19 and 20, 2013.
Engineers at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., designed and built Messenger under NASA’s Discovery program.
This military and aerospace (mil/aero) geek has been excitedly delving into the images produced by these impressive spacecraft and their onboard electronics and imaging devices.