Pale Blue Dot Revisited

Earlier this week NASA released photographs of the Earth as seen by the Cassini spacecraft, 898 million miles from home. This is only the third time the Earth has been photographed from a distance like this, and immediately calls to mind Carl Sagan’s famous, “pale blue dot.”

The original pale blue dot photo was taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 at Sagan’s request. He campaigned to have NASA turn Voyager’s camera around as it neared the edge of the solar system. After negotiating technical objections and NASA layoffs, the request was granted.

The resulting photo, and the words Sagan penned to accompany it, remain one of the most potent perspectives on our collective place in the universe. It chokes me up every single time.

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