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Pale blue dot

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Pale blue dot

Old 20th Jul 2010, 09:26
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Pale blue dot

Voyager took this photograph of earth on completion of it's primary mission. The distance was 3.7 billion miles from Earth, really only just the other side of the backyard fence. Sagan ruminates on it below.

Just a little perspective for everyone this fine summers morn.



From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again 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.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 09:46
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Classic Carl Sagan! I'll take his writing over any book of instruction.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 09:53
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I just smudged a bit of paintwork on a window frame; I was right, you'd never know from a few feet away.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 10:24
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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.
I wish more people would realise that. I also wish that people would lose the delusion that we are somehow in the future going out into space to explore and colonise. We might go to Mars but probably not. We'll just talk about it forever.

Our entire future is locked into that speck. The sooner we get used to it the better. The rest of the universe will remain a vastness away.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 10:34
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Beautiful, and a tad surreal as well.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 10:54
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Wow! Really puts us in our place in the great cosmos, encouraging a very sobering sense of proportion regarding our collective and individual insignificance.

All the same, I think I'd still better get around to completing my 2009/2010 Tax Return ....
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 14:00
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Something that recently came to my mind, having swum adjacent to a coral reef: "Our" earth atmosphere, and therefore our world as we know it, is as thin and delicate a layer as the living part of the most delicate coral reef.

We are an endangered species.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 14:29
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Well, Some of us are!!!
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 15:03
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Concidering the age of that blue dot we as a species have not been around long enough to be concidered residents,we have just signed the visitors book and will shortly buggah off into the fossil record.

Last edited by tony draper; 20th Jul 2010 at 16:32.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 15:58
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Some of us already have, Mr D.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 16:34
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We should have stayed up in the trees,we might have hung about bit longer.
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 17:05
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"and crawling on the planet's face, some insects called the human race, lost in time and lost in space and meaning..."

The criminologist (RHPS).

Carl Sagan seemed like a truly good man.

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Old 20th Jul 2010, 18:05
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Viewing Earth from the Moon can change lives - see 'Moondust' by Andrew Smith. Let's gather together the top belligerents and send them up for some enlightenment. If any fail to improve, a Douglas Adams-style solution could be arranged...
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Old 20th Jul 2010, 18:10
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Sticking a pair of rose coloured glasses on nasty individuals would not help in a species that is collectively insane,ie us.
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 04:53
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I wonder if that dot has intelligent life forms?
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 07:58
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So where are all the other planets, stars and galaxies?
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 08:03
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It is only three billion odd miles, a distance so small on the scheme of things it's like looking out at something as far away as a coat of varnish on your eyeball you need to go out a lot further before you get to other stars and galaxies.
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 08:19
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Kelly, this should give you an idea of the distances involved (and make you feel very small and insignificant at the same time)
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 09:29
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post 16

So where are all the other planets, stars and galaxies?



I THINK they are all 'smudged' This will be a time exposure 'glued' to the earth,so all else is just a blurr.



Stand to be corrected
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Old 21st Jul 2010, 09:36
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There aren't any in the path of the shot. This is the point - the universe is big, really big. I mean you might think it's along way to walk to the chemists, but this is peanuts to the universe...
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