Pale Blue Dot

“A transitory time on our pale blue dot.” When a visitor to my web site read the tag line they asked “what the heck does that mean”? That inspired me to write an explanation of what I was thinking when I wrote it.

The Pale Blue Dot is a famous image captured by Voyager 1 from 3.7 billion miles away, showing Earth as a tiny pixel within a sunbeam in the vastness of space. In 1980 the world renowned astrophysicist and educator Carl Sagan wrote a book called “Pale Blue Dot” that was inspired by this photograph. The phrase “Pale Blue Dot” became synonymous with the image.

Since then other “Pale Blue Dot” images have been taken. Here’s an image looking back from under the rings of Saturn from NASA’s Casini spacecraft.

Here’s an image from the surface of Mars taken from one of NASA’s rovers.

And an image closer to home looking over the surface of the Moon taken in 2007 by the Japanese space agency JAXA’s Kaguya probe to the Moon.

For a fleeting spec of time, while I exist on this tiny blue oasis floating in the vastness of space, consciousness allows me to consider my place within the Universe. It is truly humbling and makes me appreciate my home planet and the life it gives me. “A transitory time on our pale blue dot.”