© NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

NEW YORK, April 22. /Offset. TASS Igor Borisenko/. The photo of the Earth and moon, taken from orbit of Saturn, published on Friday, the National Directorate of the USA on Aeronautics and space research (NASA).

In the picture, taken using the apparatus of the automatic station Cassini from a distance of 1.4 billion kilometers, our planet appears as a tiny point of light on the black velvet of space, the left of which is barely visible pale dot is the Moon . The uniqueness of the picture in the fact that it is made through Saturn’s rings in top and bottom photos are the sunlit portions of the rings of giant planets, consisting of fragments of ice.

In July 2013 the station was transferred to the ground the end of Saturn, and barely distinguishable points of light – Mars, Venus, the Earth and the moon.

Station, Cassini, launched October 15, 1997, and bred into orbit around Saturn in 2004, has given scientists the opportunity to study the system giant planets, in particular his companions. So, it was discovered the geysers on Enceladus, openly methane lake on Titan, obtained clear photos of Mimas. In addition, the instrument allowed Cassini to investigate a giant storm in the atmosphere of Saturn.

In April, began the last phase of the research, which scientists call “the Grand finale”: 22 times circled Saturn, moving between the surface of the planet and its rings. This is quite a complicated manoeuvre, especially given the threat of a collision Cassini with a large chip. On the night of 22 April, the station must pass close to the largest moon of Saturn – Titanium.

If all goes according to plan, you will be able to obtain data on Saturn’s magnetic field and maybe the answer to the question about how long he formed his ring. Now scientists have different hypotheses on this subject: some believe that the rings formed with the planet at the same time, others believe the rings are the debris of the satellite, which was destroyed under the influence of gravity of a planet or traces captured by Saturn of the comet. September 15, Cassini will enter the upper atmosphere of Saturn and will cease to exist.

This maneuver is necessary in order to prevent the possibility of any terrestrial microorganisms from the station to Titan or Enceladus – moons of Saturn, which theoretically, could exist life.