In 1977 Voyager 1, a 722 Kilogram space probe, was launched by NASA to explore the outer solar system. Voyager 1 has performed its task remarkably well, sending back spectacular pictures of Saturn, and Jupiter. As of today it is in the outer Heliosphere and the most distant man made object from earth.
A surprising thing happened when Voyager 1 reached the edge of the solar system in 1990. It was instructed to turn its camera back towards earth and snap some pictures. What it sent back was a stunningly humbling picture of earth seen as a “pale blue dot”. Carl Sagan recorded his thoughts on seeing this picture in this wonderful video:
“From 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.”
The “Pale Blue Dot” has become a classic that has been watched by millions. It represents a cry to see in perspective the insignificance of our ego-centered antics in the face of our wider responsibility to each other and to the planet earth.
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