27 years ago, astronomer and philosopher Carl Sagan gave an incredible speech about our planet. 27 years later, that speech became the inspiration behind Barnes Film Festival’s filmmaking competition.
As NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft was about to leave our Solar System in 1989, Sagan, who was a member of the mission’s imaging team, pleaded with officials to turn the camera around to take one last look back at Earth before the spaceship left our solar system. The resulting image, with the Earth as a speck less than 0.12 pixels in size, became known as “the pale blue dot.”
In his book, “The Pale Blue Dot”, Sagan wrote:
“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.
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.
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.”
Below is the photograph taken from Voyager 1 on the 14th February 1990. Can you see Earth, the pale blue dot?
Here’s an extract from ‘The Earth Book’ by Jonathon Litton (Little Tiger Press), which nicely illustrates Sagan’s words.