This is what our planet would look like to visitors from another planet. Alternatively, this is also what the Death Star would have looked like shortly before it blasted Alderaan to pieces.
On October 9, 2013, NASA’s JUNO spacecraft swung by Earth, its home, for the last time, using our gravity as a slingshot to propel it toward its ultimate rendezvous with Jupiter in 2016.
Humming along at nearly four kilometers per second, it turned a special camera toward Earth, and captured the first-ever movie of the moon in orbit around its host planet - us.
Our moon stacks up as 27% smaller than Earth, takes up just 2% of our volume, and is only about 1% as massive, yet that’s still plenty to drag upon our oceans and deliver daily tides. In its elliptical orbit, the moon is, at any moment, an average of 384,000 kilometers from you. Juno, on the other hand, came within 600 kilometers of Earth during its recent visit, less than twice the altitude of the International Space Station.
We are the most creative, the most inventive, the most curious of the multitudes of small creatures that inhabit this planet, and in all the living history that has or ever will take place on this hazy blue marble, none save us have ever or will ever see sights such as these. There’s your significance.
Enjoy this video of the historic fly-by, with some special new music from Vangelis (yes, that Vangelis):