Pale Blue Dot

This is a photograph named “Pale Blue Dot”, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990, in respect of the request by the late American astronomer, Carl Sagan.  Voyager 1 had just completed its primary mission and then turned the camera around to take this majestic shot.

The image shows Earth, seen from 3.7 billion miles away, as a tiny “pale blue dot”, against a backdrop of immense, deep space.  You can just about identify it, at almost the mid-point of the yellow/brown ray, farthest on the right.

What we see here inspired Sagan to write his 1994 book “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, in which he wrote his deeper reflections on this image.  I like them so much, I just had to share them.  Here’s what he wrote:

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Now that’s perspective!!

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  1. […] away from Earth towards the Moon. It describes beautifully the complexity and fragility of our pale blue dot, as Carl Sagan so poetically put […]



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