24 July 2013

That's home. That's us. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
That’s home. That’s us.

The image above is a processed color image of Earth from Saturn. As Carl Sagan once wrote, “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” The view of Earth as a pale blue dot demonstrates the rarity of our world, and the fragility of our lives. It is easy to feel small and humbled by such a visage.

But this image of our homeworld was taken by a probe 900 million miles away, a distance so vast that light takes 80 minutes to traverse. And it was built by us. Human hands crafted a machine capable of travelling to Saturn and looking back. Human minds designed it. We dreamed of a way to explore our solar system and we made that dream a reality.

In a single lifetime we have climbed out of our nursery crib. We’ve walked upon the surface of the Moon, sent rovers to explore Mars, built telescopes to gaze upon the farthest reaches of the universe. We’ve scattered probes across our solar system, from our closest neighbors to its outer edge.

This is what humans do. We seek, explore and dream. We devise, and build, and learn.

This picture of the Earth is an image not of our past, but of our future. Yes, this is an image of home, but so is every picture of the starry heavens. The universe is our home. We are a part of it, and it is a part of us.

Here is where we began, and this image is just the beginning.