A Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan

Written by Carl Sagan   

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth made by Voyager on February 14th 1990, from a record distance (6.000 millions of km far from Earth), showing it against the vastness of space. It is also the title of a 1994 book by astronomer Carl Sagan that was inspired by the photo. In 2001, it was selected by Space.com as one of the top ten space science photos.

Here are the words of Carl Sagan:

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.

A pale blue dot: Carl Sagan
AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Comments (1)add comment

Mark David Vinzens said:

 
I pledge allegiance to the earth and all the life which it supports. One planet in our care, irreplaceable, with sustenance and respect for all.
November 15, 2019

Write comment

busy