How do you view earth?


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paleblue_custom-b200d49e728a183a8622779513762ba435508898-s2-c85.jpgPolitics, religion, economic and all other things aside, how do you view earth? Personally, I see it as a unique opportunity in a void of complete nothing. I think we all get so caught up in the day-to-day that it is hard to really think about what Earth and life means. I look at earth as home and as a place where I can take any and every opportunity to become the best,  experience the best and encourage the best. I look at it as an opportunity for anything that I see possible.
As much as I personally dislike reading and long/wordy quotes, I believe this quote from Astronomer Carl Sagan is a very important statement, maybe one the most profound statements in the history of our civilization based on this image of earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, 4 billion miles away from Earth. This is how Carl Sagan views Earth, do you agree?

"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 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. 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.

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." -Carl Sagan, a pale blue dot

My favorite moments in science, in fact, have been images of Earth taken from outer space, there is something humbling about pictures of earth taken from thousands, millions and billions of miles away. Most recently an image of earth taken by NASA's Juno Probe on October 9th and the now updated for 2012, "Blue Marble" image. The words though, that are inspired by those images, are all different for every single one of us. I see it as opportunity. Carl Sagan finds it as our one and only home. What words do you have when looking at images of Earth from outer space? 

3 Comments

I'm first going to say this is by far my favorite post. It wasn't about some radical study or new research coming out. It was about something we've known our entire lives but rarely and truly recognize. I was once again humbled by the thought that the little blue dot in all of space is us. My favorite part of science is space (minus the physics of it) so I really enjoyed reading this.

When I took the trash out at home I would always look up at the sky and look at all the stars thinking how Earth is really just a floating rock in space we happen to live on. Thinking about it I could not have said it any better than Carl Sagan, "...the only home we've ever known."

I agree. Awesome post.

Thank You for sharing my post today in class! Although you noted that you might not have had the same vocal ability as Sagan when reading the text, it was still nice to hear.
For those that want to hear Carl Sagan say it himself, here is a link to him reciting the "Pale Blue Dot" Monologue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wupToqz1e2g

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