In 1990, Carl Sagan persuaded NASA to use the Voyager 1 spacecraft to take a photograph of the planet Earth from a distance of 4 billion miles. The result was simply arresting: a portrait of our home as a tiny, fragile speck of blue adrift in an unimaginably vast sea of space. In a commencement address for the public release of the photograph, astronomer Sagan offered these profound words:
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.
Words: Carl Sagan
Photograph: NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft