A Speck Against The Vast (Infinite) Universe

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The Pale Blue Dot. Source: NASA/JPL

Can you see that tiny pale blue dot just about midway down the brown bar to the left? That is our dear planet, Earth. What comes to your mind as you look at such a little speck against an overwhelming dark background?

NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe took this photo on February 14, 1990,  at a distance of 6 billion kilometres from us here on Earth. So, this photo was otherwise known as the first ever Family Portrait of our Solar System; seen from outside. There are many mind-blowing realities to keep in mind, looking at this photo alone. One of them is that we Humans and everything else on Earth are so tiny when looked at in the Solar System- our first personal address in the universe. You also find that we are infinitesimal in the Milky Way; our own galaxy. And then we are almost insignificant in the entire universe. You must understand that, as at the time this photo was taken, Voyager 1 still had some 23 years to travel before leaving the Solar System for Interstellar Space- after having been launched from Earth since September 5, 1977, and travelling at a whopping speed of 17 kilometers per second (17 km/s). That’s about 18 times faster than an average bullet speed.

This photo was so intriguing that Carl Sagan had to write an epistle (attached below) on it. Maybe we’d learn to live peacefully in love with one another when we all understand that we are almost insignificant in the universe, and could become much more significant by living for each other and working in cooperation to challenge mankind’s frontiers in the universe.

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