“For the first time, we saw our world, not as a solid, immovable, kind of indestructible place, but as a very small, fragile-looking world just hanging against the blackness of space. — Brian Cox”
These three photographs of Earth showcase the humbling and character-building experience of space exploration. The picture Brian Cox is referring to is the first image of the whole earth taken by humans, from space.
Image taken by Apollo 8 when it went around the back of the moon on Dec 24th 1968.
This picture marked the beginning of the environmental movement and was advocated by Al Gore. We saw how fragile and beautiful earth was. Enough to convince us that it needs taking care of.
Earth against Jupiter
Earth captured in the frame of Saturn. From 750 million miles away. The tiny faint blob hanging underneath the rings.
“I think the Earth’s got a strange property. Further away you get from it, the more beautiful it seems”. – Brian Cox
The last picture is perhaps the most famous and the most distant.
Pale Blue Dot
The pale blue dot picture. Earth from 4 billion miles(6 billion km) away. Photographed by Voyager I. The most distant and famous picture taken of Earth
This was taken by turning Voyager’s camera around at the request of Carl Sagen in 1990.
“Consider again 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.
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.” – Carl Sagen
Curiosity driven science and exploration is important. It shouldn’t make us feel supreme but rather humble. We have a lot to learn, there are so many mysteries in the universe we still don’t know the answers to. When we find the answers to them, the picture about ourselves will get clearer.