Pale Blue Dot Revisited

Thirty years ago today, February 14, 1990 – NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 looked back from Saturn to capture the Pale Blue Dot.

An image of bluish space, with streaks of sunlight crossing it, and with a single dot - Earth - within one of the sunbeams.

In this image from Voyager 1 – acquired on February 14, 1990, from a distance slightly past the orbit of Saturn – Planet Earth is visible as a bright speck within the sunbeam, just right of center. Earth appears softly blue. It occupies less than a single pixel in this image and thus is not fully resolved. Image via NASA.

As Voyager 1 approached Saturn, mission control planned to conserve power by shutting down imaging cameras. Astronomer Carl Sagan had an idea – before shutdown look back at planet Earth. Six billion kilometers across the cosmos Voyager 1 immortalized the Pale Blue Dot.

Today, 30th anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot

On this 30th anniversary, every last one of us should take a moment to ponder Sagan’s 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.” – Carl Sagan

The illions Of Carl Sagan

In 1980 Carl Sagan took humanity to the Cosmos. In honour of Sagan’s  dedication to bring wonder and thought provoking insight to the masses – a clip for those who share my regard for one of the greatest minds in history.  Ponder Millions, Billions and Trillions, all the illions of Cosmos taken in order.

Still beaming from Cosmos illions, I can’t resist offering – We Humans Are Capable of Greatness…

What’s So Great About Carl Sagan?

The other day I was asked “what’s so great about Carl Sagan?” Caught off guard, indecipherable splutters formed the sentence “how much time do you have?”, followed immediately by “I’m sorry, that was rude. What do you know about Sagan?” The response, “he had a TV show about space, Cosmic or something like that”, landed with a thud. Answering “yes he narrated a show called Cosmos”, gave me time to think.

Throughout the brief exchange continuous loops of “what’s so great” played in my head. Feeling disinclined to spew snippets of Sagan’s accomplishments forced me to admit I was annoyed. I heard myself say “Google Carl Sagan’s biography if you want to know the magnitude of his influence, listen to him if you need to know why I consider him a great man”


Carl Sagan Explains The 4th Dimension

A few minutes ago YouTube displayed video of Carl Sagan explaining the 4th dimension on my Home page – well played YouTube! Smitten of late by Neil deGrasse Tyson, pondering the enormity of Sagan’s influence, accomplishments and reason seemed long overdue.

Time magazine called Sagan “America’s most effective salesman of science”. Faint irritation nibbled at the realization I didn’t know how to proceed. Biographical bullet points wouldn’t do, I wanted to impart subtleties of wonder sparked by his influence. Thoughts meandered to his corduroy jacket, an unfortunate fixation that wasn’t making things easier. Then it came to me – Carl Sagan’s reach can be introduced, acknowledged or discovered dependent on individual experience. Rather than fret over conveying my appreciation to a generation untouched by his perceptible impact, it was enough to appreciate contributions by posting his explanation of the 4th dimension.