That pale blue dot!

Carl Sagan’s legacy!

Last Friday saw the thirtieth anniversary of Carl Sagan’s iconic photograph, or rather NASA’s photograph, of Planet Earth. Carl persuaded NASA to turn Voyager 1, as it left the Solar System, and take the photo. It became famous almost instantly and became known as the pale blue dot.

Here’s a shortened Wikipedia account of Carl Sagan’s book:

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space is a 1994 book by Carl Sagan. It is the sequel to Cosmos and was inspired by the famous 1990 Pale Blue Dot photograph, for which Sagan provides a poignant description. In this book, Sagan mixes philosophy about the human place in the universe with a description of the current knowledge about the Solar System. He also details a human vision for the future.

Here’s the latest from NASA.

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’Pale Blue Dot’ Revisited

February 12th, 2020

This updated version of the iconic “Pale Blue Dot” image taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft uses modern image-processing software and techniques to revisit the well-known Voyager view while attempting to respect the original data and intent of those who planned the images.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic views from the Voyager mission, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is publishing a new version of the image known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”

The updated image uses modern image-processing software and techniques while respecting the intent of those who planned the image. Like the original, the new color view shows Planet Earth as a single, bright blue pixel in the vastness of space. Rays of sunlight scattered within the camera optics stretch across the scene, one of which happens to have intersected dramatically with Earth.

The view was obtained on Feb. 14, 1990, just minutes before Voyager 1’s cameras were intentionally powered off to conserve power and because the probe — along with its sibling, Voyager 2 — would not make close flybys of any other objects during their lifetimes. Shutting down instruments and other systems on the two Voyager spacecraft has been a gradual and ongoing process that has helped enable their longevity.


This simulated view, made using NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System app, approximates Voyager 1’s perspective when it took its final series of images known as the “Family Portrait of the Solar System,” including the “Pale Blue Dot” image. Move the slider to the left to see the location of each image. (You have to go here to see the full image. Ed.)
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This celebrated Voyager 1 view was part of a series of 60 images designed to produce what the mission called the “Family Portrait of the Solar System.” This sequence of camera-pointing commands returned images of six of the solar system’s planets, as well as the Sun. The Pale Blue Dot view was created using the color images Voyager took of Earth.

The popular name of this view is traced to the title of the 1994 book by Voyager imaging scientist Carl Sagan, who originated the idea of using Voyager’s cameras to image the distant Earth and played a critical role in enabling the family portrait images to be taken.

Additional information about the Pale Blue Dot image is available at:

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/536/voyager-1s-pale-blue-dot/

The original Pale Blue Dot and Family Portrait images are available at:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA00452

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA00451

The Voyager spacecraft were built by JPL, which continues to operate both. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena. The Voyager missions are a part of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about the Voyager spacecraft, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/voyager

https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov

Calla Cofield​
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
626-808-2469
calla.e.cofield@jpl.nasa.gov

Written by Preston Dyches

2020-030

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Voyager 1 is now nearly 14 billion miles from Planet Earth and still going strong. It has a plutonium battery that will last for eighty years. A one-way radio signal from Earth takes about twenty hours to reach the probe.

And now for something different but still to do with space.

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NASA astronaut Christina Koch recently returned to Earth after 328 days in space, breaking the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. She completed six spacewalks while on the International Space Station, including the first all-female spacewalk with astronaut Jessica Meir.

When she finally made it home, her beloved pup, LBD (Little Brown Dog), couldn’t contain her excitement.

Koch shared a video on Twitter of the moment she walked through her front door and LBD pounced to shower her with kisses.

“Not sure who was more excited,” she captioned the video. “Glad she remembers me after a year!”

“We call her LBD, little brown dog, she’s from the Humane Society and she couldn’t be sweeter,” Koch told Insider on a phone call with reporters from the Johnson Space Centre.

“And yes, she was very excited, I was very excited, I’m not sure who was more excited! … You know it’s just a symbol of coming back to the people and places that you love, to see your favourite animal.”

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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Now I can’t disappear without acknowledging the fantastic work of Carl Sagan.

And I can’t do better than republish the first bit of a wonderful piece on Carl put out by Wikipedia.

Carl Edward Sagan (/ˈsɡən/; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.[

He died far too young in my opinion!

But not without leaving a tremendous legacy – The Pale Blue Dot.

6 thoughts on “That pale blue dot!

    1. Coupled with a great response, Susan. Yes, that pale blue dot puts everything into perspective and yet almost beyond comprehension. So precious and yet so, dare I say it, so irrelevant. Carl Sagan’s legacy. Then that sweet greeting of Christina!

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      1. LOL.

        Same thing happened with DSCVR. I had heard it would be streaming live video of the earth, but when it arrived at LG1 all we got were stills. I contacted the mission’s lead scientist over that, and he actually told me no one had thought about doing a live video feed.

        Liked by 1 person

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