Pasadena, Calif. NASA on Friday released the first picture of Saturn created from images taken by the Cassini spacecraft en route to the ringed planet.
The picture, a composite of images made with various filters, was the result of a successful test of Cassini's camera, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.
The image shows Saturn's shadow falling across its rings and includes the planet's largest moon, Titan. Saturn and Cassini were 177 million miles apart last week when the images were taken.
Mission officials said it was good to finally see Saturn through the spacecraft's eyes.
"Cassini has sighted the ringed planet looking distant, mysterious and serene," said Carolyn Porco, a planetary scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., and leader of the science team using the Cassini camera.
Cassini is scheduled to reach Saturn on July 1, 2004.