Little Corner of the Web
& Society -
Earth, as seen by Voyager
1 at a distance of 4 billion miles.
Click on image for larger
here for audio narrative.
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.
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 master 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.
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.
earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is no
where 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 his where we make our stand.
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
Voyager 1 turned its camera back on its home planet for the last time
on February 14, 1990. For the first time, humankind could see itself
in perspective from the edge of our solar system – something possible only
through our efforts to explore other worlds. This evocative representation
of Earth appeared in the book Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan. To see
the image of Earth taken by Voyager 1, go to http://planetary.org/html/society/advisors/sagandot.html.
– Planetary Report, Volume XXI, Number 5, September/October 2001
The Universe is an awfully large place. If there is other intelligent
life out there, and humanity ends up destroying itself – stupid us.
If there is no other intelligent life out there and we destroy ourselves
– shame on us.
– Scott Toste, 2001
Click here to hear an audio
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Last updated: 11/5/02