Back in the 1980s, Carl Sagan realized how important it would be for society to see what our home looks like from as far away as possible. For years he worked for years trying to convince NASA to use the Voyager 1 spacecraft to turn around before it left the solar system and take a photo of Earth.
It finally did, and the photo above is the result. The very small barely blue pixel is Earth as viewed from 6 billion kilometers away was the subject of a very moving speech/book by Carl Sagan, but we'll come back to that in a second.
In 2013 July something very unique also happened. A couple of forward thinking scientists on the Cassini space probe team had a very Sagan-like moment but with a twist. They realized that with the advent of technology it would be possible to broadcast to the world ahead of time that a certain space craft would be turning around and taking a photo of you. The Day the Earth Smiled was the result of that.
On July 19, 2013, this beautiful photograph of the same "pale blue dot" was taken while thousands of people looked up at the sky:
That tiny blue beautiful dot is us. Only Carl Sagan's thoughts can do justice to this pivotal image in human history. I can only imagine how much more he would have to say if he'd been here to witness it.
Click play below and listen.
"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. 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." - Carl Sagan
Peace has been a difficult to acquire commodity for Earth, and violence seems to continue to endure almost anything thrown at it form across the globe. Perhaps this is what is needed; to step out of our scope of understanding and obliterate it with a perspective so powerful and staggering, to maybe one day eradicate such short sighted hatred. Maybe.