The “Pale Blue Dot”

Standard

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken from a record distance of 3.7 billion miles, at the edge of our solar system. It was shot and transmitted by theVoyager 1 spacecraft almost 13 years after its launch. (This is an original Quora post by Julio Rodriguez)

[It’s just one pixel so if you’re having trouble finding it click this link:http://tecnoscience.squarespace…. ]

Dr. Carl Sagan, who originally requested that the picture be taken, famously reflected on its meaning:

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of  particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Look again at 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.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the  rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in  glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction  of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of  one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of  some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they  are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we  have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this  point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great  enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is  no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is  nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could  migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the  Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building  experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of  human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it  underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and  to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever  known.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s