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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: 5, Insightful) by krishnoid on Monday April 24 2023, @04:13AM (3 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday April 24 2023, @04:13AM (#1302740)

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

    That apparently almost didn't happen [nasa.gov], at least the first time. If you want to hear Sagan's pale blue dot [youtu.be] in his own recorded voice, it's worth the ~5 minutes of your time. It's useful when perspective proves elusive.

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  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday April 24 2023, @06:40AM

    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 24 2023, @06:40AM (#1302749) Journal
    Thanks for the link.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Monday April 24 2023, @06:53AM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Monday April 24 2023, @06:53AM (#1302752)

    It's so weird that the farthest-from-home man-made object is still Voyager 1, launched in the 70s, which has massively outlived its expected service life (digression: RTGs [wikipedia.org]). They don't build them like they used to!

    The Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] is less helpful than it used to be :( So many years since then, and we still haven't even launched a probe that will make it that far, more-advanced technology or no.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday April 25 2023, @02:49PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday April 25 2023, @02:49PM (#1303055) Homepage Journal

    I used that photo on the back cover of Meditations, with the quote "And yet the whole Earth itself, what is it but as one point, in regard to the entire universe?" -- Marcus Aurelius

    --
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