IEEE Spectrum is the flagship publication of the IEEE — the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences. Our articles, podcasts, and infographics inform our readers about developments in technology, engineering, and science.
Enjoy more free content and benefits by creating an account
Saving articles to read later requires an IEEE Spectrum account
The Institute content is only available for members
Downloading full PDF issues is exclusive for IEEE Members
Access to Spectrum's Digital Edition is exclusive for IEEE Members
Following topics is a feature exclusive for IEEE Members
Adding your response to an article requires an IEEE Spectrum account
Create an account to access more content and features on IEEE Spectrum, including the ability to save articles to read later, download Spectrum Collections, and participate in conversations with readers and editors. For more exclusive content and features, consider Joining IEEE.
Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, archives, PDF downloads, and other benefits. Learn more →
In the same way that sailors long to make landfall after a long voyage at sea, space travelers—Benson conceives—will yearn for “planetfall,” which he defines as the act of reaching a planet after a space journey. It’s easy to imagine that this view of Earth would warm a traveler’s heart. This photo was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft as it headed away from Earth on its way to study a comet.
If you are viewing this page with an iPad or iPhone, click here to launch the slideshow: