That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.

This new video superimposes Mr. Sagan voice and narration from the original Pale Blue Dot video over time lapse footage of Voyager 1 as it travelled out of our solar system. NASA launched Voyager 1 on September 5, 1977, a 722-kilogram (1,592 lb) robotic spacecraft on a mission to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. After encountering the Jovian system in 1979 and the Saturnian system in 1980, the primary mission was declared complete on November 20 of the same year. Voyager 1 was the first space probe to provide detailed images of the two largest planets and their major moons.

Carl Sagan’s legacy still lives through this remake of “Pale Blue Dot” video, one of the most poignant and introspective soliloquy of all times.

The remake of Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” video was recently featured in the 2014 American science documentary television series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”. The show is a follow-up to the 1980 hit television series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”, which was hosted by Carl Sagan on the Public Broadcasting Service and is considered a milestone for scientific documentaries.

The current Cosmos series is presented by none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson. Following Sagan’s death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and executive producer Seth MacFarlane, sought to create a new version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. In one of the episodes Mr. Tyson described the day he met with Mr. Sagan when he was a teen – there’s a palpable connection there as Mr. Tyson proudly assumes the mantle of his illustrious predecessor in this fascinating and eye-opening series. I can only think of all the good that will come out of this series and the whole new generation of youth it will inspire.

Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.” Carl Sagan’s greatest gifts was to deliver intelligent explanations about science to a general audience. He always explained things in a simple manner while projecting a unique poetic beauty with his words. Carl Sagan is a brilliant scientist that communicates like an Old Testament prophet, here’s a sampling: “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”.

In an interview, he once mused: “Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach him, or somebody who says everything in some sacred book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved in the writing of this book?” Mr. Sagan was one of the first outspoken voices against radical religious dogmatism in the modern world.

But he also criticized the new atheists of today who are so angry and always pitting science against religion as if this is the only choice there is, without understanding the inestimable value of the mythologies, allegories, symbolism, mysticism and poetry found within religion. Even though Carl Sagan was skeptical and outspoken about certain elements of religion he was hardly hateful or disrespectful towards people of faith. Carl Sagan was not a believer, but he advocated for a possible relationship between science and faith and that “the significance of our lives and our fragile realm derives from our own wisdom and courage.”

Watching the “Pale Blue Dot” video with my son made my eyes water. The video has a truly poignant and beautiful message about our place in our awesome universe but it comes with an ominous warning as we head towards an uncertain future. The hard truth is that we live in an unfathomable universe in which, daily, whole new worlds are created and destroyed, and even though we cling to this lump of rock, there’s an urgent need us to appreciate how fragile our existence on Earth is becoming. Increasingly, our world is defined not by our most advanced technology, but by the difference in the lives between those with access to technology and those without, the rich and poor nations of the world. The “Pale Blue Dot” video underscores the need for us human beings to learn to live together with each other and put aside all these petty little differences. Our planet is not very important for the universe but it is for us. Earth is our home we have to protect it. It would be much easier to do it; if we start thinking like wise and rational thinking beings after all the name of our species is “Homo Sapiens” “Wise (Man) Being”. Should we be visited from outer space, “Wise” would be the last adjective our guests would use to describe the inhabitants of this planet right now.

Brian cox could not have said it better in the last minutes of the Human Universe episode ‘What is our Future’ when he says: Science is unreasonably effective. It has generated knowledge beyond all expectation. It has also delivered perspective. Yes, we are an insignificant speck in an infinite universe, but we’re also rare. And because we’re rare we’re valuable. So what are we to do to secure our future? Well, we must learn to value the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake and not just because it grows our economy or allows us to build better bombs. We must also learn to value the human race and take responsibility for our own survival. Why? Because there’s nobody else out to value us or to look after us. And, finally, most important of all, we must educate the next generation in the great discoveries of science. And we must teach them to use the light of reason to banish the darkness of superstition because if we do that then at least there’s a chance that this universe will remain a human one.”

Humanity’s maniacal obsessions have far outpaced its intellect and wisdom. There is no compelling evidence for a cosmic Deity who will care for us and save us from ourselves. It is up to us. In the end there is no place like Earth. I hope we’ll save it for the future, because there isn’t another like it around, I don’t think.

Let’s stop our stupid fights and start working together towards a better future. Let’s Cherish our Pale Blue Dot.

This video above is compulsory viewing. What Mr. Sagan says in this video is truth in its simplest form, without hyperbole or embellishment. Take a second to reflect on and share this video, not because it’s politically correct but because it is necessary, but because you owe to yourself and your community. Remember what and where you are. Forget fortune and fame, glory and glitter. Watch this video and take a moment to let it sink in. Look how insignificant, inconsequential and trivial we are in the immenseness of the universe. Hopefully you’ll discover that a united world is the only way to beat the odds stacked against the survival of humans as a species.

Narration Transcript of the 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.

pale-blue-dot_c1

…every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king…

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.

pale-blue-dot_c2

…and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer…

Our posturing, 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.

pale-blue-dot_c3

…every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner…

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.”

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Pale Blue Dot

This narrow-angle color image of the Earth, dubbed “Pale Blue Dot” is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe and is a part of the first ever ‘portrait’ of the solar system. The spacecraft acquired a total of 60 frames for a mosaic of the solar system from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth and about 32 degrees above the ecliptic. In the photograph, from Voyager’s great distance Earth is a mere point of light, its apparent size was a crescent only 0.12 pixel in size; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight scattered by the camera’s optics.

"Pale Blue Dot" by Voyager 1 - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Pale Blue Dot” by Voyager 1 – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Coincidentally, Earth lies right in the center of one of the scattered light rays resulting from taking the image so close to the sun. This blown-up image of the Earth was taken through three color filters — violet, blue and green — and recombined to produce the color image. The background features in the image are artifacts resulting from the magnification. Voyager 1, which had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System, was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of astronomer and author Carl Sagan.

Earthrise

“Earthrise” Image of the Earth rising over the Moon as seen from Apollo 8, December 24, 1968 - Photo taken by Bill Anders - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Earthrise” Image of the Earth rising over the Moon as seen from Apollo 8, December 24, 1968 – Photo taken by Bill Anders – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders on December 24, 1968, at mission time 075:49:07 (16:40 UTC), while in orbit around the Moon this view of the rising Earth greeted the Apollo 8 astronauts as they came from behind the Moon after the lunar orbit insertion burn. The Earth is about five degrees above the horizon in the photo and the lunar horizon is approximately 780 kilometers from the spacecraft. The width of the photographed area at the lunar horizon is about 175 kilometers. The unnamed surface features in the foreground are near the eastern limb of the Moon as viewed from Earth. On the Earth 240,000 miles away, the sunset terminator bisects Africa.

Leave a Reply