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Pale Blue Dot, 30 Years later

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posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 11:20 AM
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February 14, 2020 (today or tomorrow, depending on where you life on this dot) marks the 30th anniversary of the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. NASA is re-releasing a newly edited version of the original image to mark the occasion.



The Pale Blue Dot image was a picture taken by Voyager in 1990 looking back toward the inner solar system. The image was the idea of Carl Sagan who convinced NASA to take a "Family Portrait" (actually a series of images of all of the planets that Voyager could see at that time). By 1990, Voyager's planetary fly-bys were complete, NASA was about to shut down Voyager's cameras -- likely permanently -- in order to save power for other instruments to keep doing science well into the future, and Sagan thought this one last group of images might be a good idea.

Voyager and the layout of the Family Portrait:


In the image of the Earth for this family portrait, our insignificant-looking planet shows up as just a pixel (it was in fact smaller than a pixel as seen by the camera) that could have easily been overlooked.

NASA web page: 'Pale Blue Dot' Revisited.


For me, one of the most memorable things about the Pale Blue Dot image was this insightful, moving, and inspiring essay written a few years later by Carl Sagan (with, potentially, help from his writer wife) in which he simultaneously describes both the insignificance and the grandeur of that pale blue dot imaged by the Voyager spacecraft. The Sagans had a way with words.


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.

--Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994


Link to full image in various sizes



edit on 2/13/2020 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 11:39 AM
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That is so awesome to re-read again. Perspective is an almighty powerful thing.

I look at that and think....yep....somebody put us in pergatory. To keep us away from normal folk.



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 11:45 AM
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Everything is a pale dot until one is inside of it.



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 11:45 AM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People


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.

So true.

It is an iconic image that 30 years later reminds us of how great we are , or were.



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People
If you move the camera back a bit more, you won't even see a dot. You'll see NOTHING...


And then you'd only have moved away a teeny tiny fraction of the distance to the edge of the known universe.

In that sense, we're not even a speck of dust. Our planet is like an atom that we can't even see, and actually even much smaller than that.

Then imagine how small we as people are in all of that...

soulwaxer
edit on 13-2-2020 by soulwaxer because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 01:16 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

It was/is a great picture quite possibly one of the best, and to think the camera is now even further away drifting into interstellar space.

By the way wheres turbonium1 to state how this is impossible as rockets cant go into orbit, is this photo not the ultimate proof of concept?

Voyager Mission Status



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 02:42 PM
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Whenever life seems to be giving me too much # I look at this photo because nothing expresses the fact it is so insignificant it's hardly worth the worry or thought.



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 03:13 PM
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Carl Sagan was a dreamer.
I remember going outside some cool dark nights with the view of the heavens through a cool crisp air, staring up at the heavens. More than a few times, I could actually see the Mlky Way. It was magnificent.

My 500 thousand lumen security light went out 3 weeks ago and I called in a service request to Entergy to have it repaired. 2 weeks later, the man came out to fix it but he said needed a new fixture so he left and still no light. Now, another week later, I called Entergy back and told the nice lady to cancel the request and take the light down.

I'm glad it's gone. Maybe I'll see the Milky Way again.



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 07:18 PM
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How do all of our big fat egos, fit on that tiny speck ?



posted on Feb, 13 2020 @ 08:36 PM
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a reply to: Soylent Green Is People

I am so happy to have read this. Makes tomorrow that much better!




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