Pale Blue Dot

If you write a message, put it in a bottle and drop it into the ocean it tend to drift away and end up in unexpected places. One of our messages that has drifted farthest of them all is the Voyager Golden Record. Check out the link to view some of the images and sounds that future aliens will see and hear if they ever find our message 🙂

In 1977 a spacecraft, Voyager 1, was launched from earth with a mission to explore our neighbour planets. It finished its mission, and is now on its way out from our solar system. It is still making discoveries. I had no idea there was something called the “Local Fluff”. But apparently we are about to head into it. 🙂

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is currently more than 16 billion kilometers away from earth, travelling at about 17 km per second. It takes about 15 hours to send a message from earth to Voyager 1, by the speed of light.

Interesting numbers, but you know what they use to say. “An image tells more than thousand words”.

The first photo of both Earth and the Moon, taken by Voyager 1 in 1977.

In 1990, Voyager 1 took photos of our neighbour planets from “outside” the solar system. If someone would travel toward our planet this would probably be what they might see.

And while you are still reading this, while Im still in control of your mind, I finish with a quote and a picture. The quote is from Pale Blue Dot.

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.

The Pale Blue Dot is a photography of planet Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 from 6 billion kilometres away, showing it against the vastness of space. (if you dont see it its the blue little pixel on the right side of the photo, on the brown-ish stripe 😉 )

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