the pale blue dot

DotFrom this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any 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.

-Carl Sagan

 

 Note: The Pale Blue Dot: Captured from 3.7 billion miles away, Earth appears as a tiny dot halfway down the orange stripe on the right.  Image: NASA / JPL

On February 14, 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft — which carried The Golden Record turned its revolutionary camera around and took the iconic “Pale Blue Dot” photograph that later inspired the famous Sagan monologue of this blog entry. The image, composed of 640,000 individual pixels, depicts Earth, a mere 12% of a single pixel, at the center of a scattered ray of light resulting from taking an image this close to the Sun. It endures, even in an age when the future of space exploration hangs in precarious balance, as a timeless Valentine to the cosmos.

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feeling small

I sometimes look up into the night sky and think how far away everything is.

And I end up feeling small.

I think God designed it this way. Not just to make us feel small. But to make us realize how incredibly awesome He is.

Two men realized that when someone pictured the universe in which we live, no one seemed to depict it to scale. They show position, and order, and other factors, but all of them seemed to fall short of an actual depiction of things to a comprehensible scale.

What they produced is something that amazes...and humbles at the same time. And yes, God remains, as always, incredibly awesome.