A Planet of People Waving at Outer Space

Earthlings, you are so funny sometimes.
20130722_annotated_earth-moon_from_saturn_1920x1080.jpg
NASA

On July 19th, around 2:30 in the afternoon Pacific time, the good people of NASA encouraged the residents of our planet to stand outside and wave to the heavens. Time for a family portrait.

At that very moment, 898 million miles away, the Cassini spacecraft was taking a picture of our Earth as it appeared from behind Saturn. See that sparkling blue orb -- you're on it, somewhere, waving away.

This is a nice thought, but, to be honest, the curmudgeon in me just found it silly. The freaking moon is barely big enough to appear in this long-distance snapshot, to say nothing of you, standing out on your deck, gesturing madly at the sky.

But today NASA released a different image of that photographic event, and in this one all those waving Earthlings do make an appearance.

wave_earth_mosaic_3.jpg
NASA

The mosaic image is composed of the hundreds of images of the event that people sent to NASA via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Google+, and email.

Still too small to see the humans? A much bigger version (way too big to upload here), allows you to zoom in and check out the individual images. There are all the parents with their kids, couples locked in embrace, people in pools, on roofs, at work, in fields. That's our planet, when you get close enough to see it.

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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