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posted by hubie on Monday April 24 2023, @01:15AM   Printer-friendly

Our precious planet seen from deep space:

NASA's exploration robots have rumbled around Mars, swooped around Saturn, and flown well beyond the planets, into interstellar space.

But the space agency's engineers often direct their machines to peer back at the vivid blue dot in the distance.

"During almost every mission we turn around and take a picture back home," NASA's former chief historian, Bill Barry, told Mashable. "There seems to be an irresistible tendency to look back at home."

Indeed, in the cosmic images below you'll glimpse some of the farthest-away views of our humble, ocean-blanketed world ever captured by humanity. When we view other objects, worlds, stars, or even galaxies, we often see just dots. But to most of the cosmos, we're just a dot in the vast ether, too.

The article has nice images of the Earth and Moon taken by OSIRIS-REx, Earth as seen from the surface of Mars, a video flyby of the Earth and Moon by the Juno spacecraft, and a beautiful shot of Earth looking back with Saturnian rings in the view by Cassini, all reminding us of Carl Sagan's famous Pale Blue Dot where he observed:

To my mind, 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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24 2023, @03:07AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24 2023, @03:07AM (#1302735)

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free
    Dizzy with eternity
    Paint it with a skin of sky, brush in some clouds and sea
    Call it home for you and me
    A peaceful place, or so it looks from space
    A closer look reveals the human race
    Full of hope, full of grace, is the human face
    But afraid we may lay our home to waste

    There's a fear down here we can't forget
    Hasn't got a name just yet
    Always awake, always around
    Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
    Ashes, ashes, all fall down

    ......

    Shipping powders back and forth
    Singing black goes south and white comes north
    And the whole world full of petty wars
    Singing I got mine and you got yours
    While the current fashions set the pace
    Lose your step, fall out of grace
    The radical, he rant and rage
    Singing someone got to turn the page
    And the rich man in his summer home
    Singing just leave well enough alone
    But his pants are down, his cover's blown
    And the politicians throwing stones
    So the kids, they dance, they shake their bones
    'Cause it's all too clear we're on our own
    Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down
    Ashes, ashes, all fall down

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinning, spinning free
    It's dizzying, the possibilities

    Ashes, ashes, all fall down...

    Lyrics By: John Barlow
    Music By: Bob Weir

    Starting Score:    0  points
    Moderation   +1  
       Interesting=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   1  
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25 2023, @01:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 25 2023, @01:53AM (#1302934)

    Here's a story of how we got the first pictures of the whole Earth from space,
        https://apollospace.com/earth-from-space-iii-the-whole-earth/ [apollospace.com]
    Some LSD was involved in the original vision by Stewart Brand (who was close friends with the Grateful Dead). I read this same story long ago, perhaps in one of the Whole Earth Catalogs. The link above quotes a piece of the original (which I didn't find online), seems like a faithful quote.