Sunday, January 21, 2007

Between our rock and a cold place

The Big Sky Astronomy Club has the above photo of our earth taken by Voyager 1 in 1990 as it sailed away from Earth, more than 4 billion miles away (apologies for that obstruction on the photo caused by my image capturing software). "To my mind," said a deeply moved Dr. Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer at a public lecture on October 13, 1994 where he showed the photo, "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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." Looking at it, one cannot help but think again just how fragile our situation really is--only a thin atmosphere stands between us on this tiny rock, and that cold, dark but strangely attractive expanse of zero point energy.

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