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dimanche 21 juillet 2013

The World Smiled

Our Home World, As Seen from Interplanetary Space

Earth as seen from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting
Saturn. Taken July 19, 2013.
Courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Friday and Saturday people around the world stepped outside and smiled waved to the sky. With that innocent action, they signified that WE are here on this planet. Across the solar system, spacecraft at Mercury and Saturn captured the moment. Cassini at Saturn and MESSENGER at Mercury documented our planet from their unique vantage points in space.

The first images from that interplanetary photo shoot are now on Earth, being studied by scientists. They’ve made them available for us to see.

See that tiny shiny dot in the center of the image? It’s Earth, with the Moon.

I’m going to leave you with the words of the late Carl Sagan, the scientist who inspired ME to get into science communication. He wrote in his book Pale Blue Dot, “From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. 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…

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.”

Think about his words. What do they say to you?

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