The Most Gorgeous Space Picture of 2012

Given that Saturn is farther from the sun than us, we don’t really get the opportunity to see what it looks like from the other side.  You know, with the sun in the background?  Unless, that is, we happen to send a spacecraft to Saturn.  Then you get pictures like this.  You want to click that link.  Then you want to click to get the large version of the picture.  Yowza!

Being able to get breathtakingly gorgeous pictures from spacecraft is a valuable side benefit to space exploration.  It humanizes the experience in ways that hard scientific study can’t.  But hard scientific study is the real mission of all those crafts we shoot up into the heavens.  Every time you look at one of these pictures, you should be reminded of it.  Pictures of the universe are being beamed back to Earth from hundreds of thousands of miles away but it’s only a microcosm of the information that these vehicles are relaying.  The rest is simply data to help us figure out how the universe works.  You know, science.  And it’s in danger of being drastically cut.  More the shame to us if we allow that to happen.