Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Our Earth = A Pale Blue Dot

The picture was taken by the spacecraft Voyager 1 on Februry 14, 1990 when it was leaving our solar system. It looked back at the the Sun and the planets one last time. That small dot at the tip of the arrow is our Earth.

Carl Sagan, one of my scientist heroes, said:

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every 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..."

You need to go see the picture and read the rest of what he said at this page.

Wikipedia also has more information about the picture and the book of the same name.

By the way, my favorite Sagan's book is "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark".


Kiattisak said...

It's been over fifteen years; and I never seen--or even heard of--such an awe-inspiring photo. It reminds me of us being just pathetically piffling piddling entities of the universe, wistfully trying to understand it. :D By the way, I wonder how they did know for certain that it's really our home planet.

Ko Saipetch said...

Ha ha, as a matter of fact, I don't know exactly how they know that! It could have been a speck of dust on the CCD! However, Voyager was instructed to turn back and photograph planets including our Earth, therefore I assume that the scientists knew what they were doing and aimed correctly.