Our Home Planet, Earth: A Pale Blue Dot

On the 14th of February 1990, the Voyager 1 –a spacecraft from Earth –left the neighborhood of our planet and moved to the fringes of the Milky Way. As it went, the engineers turned it around to take a last look at Earth from a position that was over 6 billion kilometers away and approximately […]

On the 14th of February 1990, the Voyager 1 –a spacecraft from Earth –left the neighborhood of our planet and moved to the fringes of the Milky Way. As it went, the engineers turned it around to take a last look at Earth from a position that was over 6 billion kilometers away and approximately 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane from the Earth. From this position, they captured a motion picture of Earth; it appeared to be a tiny point of pale blue light of about 0.12 pixels in size, caught in the middle of scattered light rays emanating from the sun. 

The photo from the Voyager 1 on 14th February 1990

In his book Pale Blue Dot, Carl 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 a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. 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.”

There are no doubt in Sagan’s words; the egos in the mind of one proud man are figuratively bigger than the size of the entire universe, but he is just a very insignificant proportion of an equally very negligible portion of a much larger cosmos. Egos that have prevented you from telling the next person that you was sorry from your wrong deeds towards him or her, the same ego that makes you feel like you shouldn’t ask the man outside for help, the same exact ego that is so big and bends you to the point where you cannot afford to ask your neighbor if he needs your help even after seeing that he obviously needs it. That is the same ego that is weighing you down and making our lives more difficult than it should be in such a small planet as ours.

Our great rivalry is obviously against ourselves and nothing more. Space exploration programs have been set to see if our twin planet is inhabitable but until they consider it habitable, this is the only home we know, and we all are going to be here for as long as we can ever imagine so why are we living like we don’t want to see each other tomorrow? We have to get ourselves out of that shell of living such a despicable life, a life that is unhealthy to ourselves and the wellbeing of our planet.

In many countries around the world, some people are struggling to feed or lead their daily lives, and some people are living in expensive places and driving expensive cars and eating expensive foods, all in this tiny dot of pale blue light. If only we all will realize that we are not as important as a thought instead we are one of the most insignificant parts of this universe; we will learn to stop seeing ourselves as gods and help the next person who needs you to stay alive.

Science has proposed that there are other universes outside our beloved Milky Way. Come to think of it, if we can barely spot the Earth in the Milky Way, how possible is it that Earth even exists in the much bigger picture? This means that if there are lives in those other universes, there is every possibility that they don’t know nor care that we do exist. If that is so, why are we finding it so difficult to embrace the humbling lessons of space exploration and come together, treat each human as you should –with love, compassion, cooperation, understanding, and humility?

When we realize that are very insignificant as individuals in this tiny dot of light and live selflessly as we should, then we will certainly make this world a better place for everyone in it. It is no news that Earth is suffering from its self and it is suffering from nothing more but our intolerance and hatred for one another. By loving and looking out for one another genuinely, we will rescue Mother Earth from herself and her inhabitants. It takes nothing to love the person closest to you; it takes nothing to be kind to that neighbor. It takes entirely nothing to have respect for humanity and work earnestly to add value to it. In this world where a lot of people are considered less privileged, it takes nothing to be generous and to put a smile on someone’s face. No wonder they say the world is a small place, it is indeed more than just a cliché.

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