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SOMETHING WONDERFUL

Carl Sagan was a truly great science communicator.
This is only one of his many achievements.

He encouraged NASA to task the Voyager 1 spacecraft to generate this image which resulted in the famous...  Pale Blue Dot.

This is the family portrait of our solar system from 6 billion kilometres away

Within one of those Sun beams is a pale blue dot... Earth

Everyone should read, understand and appreciate this quote by Carl Sagan from his documentary series 'Cosmos'


“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.”


In August 2012,  the magnetic particle detector on Voyager 1 showed a brief change in activity.
We understand this to signify the transition of the spacecraft out of the solar bubble and into interstellar space.
A man made object has left the solar system. 

Eventually, Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 will all leave the solar system and will long outlive the human race,
in fact they should remain in tact for billions of years. They could well be the only surviving artifacts that show we ever existed.


Another impressive image of our planet Earth, this time with our Moon

More than 30 years after Mariner 10 visited Mercury, NASA launched the Messenger spacecraft (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) to visit the planet closest to our Sun On Aug. 3, 2004. On May 6, 2010, the spacecraft snapped this picture of the Earth and the moon from 185 million kilometres away. The Earth is the larger dot, the moon the slightly smaller one right next to it.

And another view from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn, show the Earth and Moon through a gap in Saturn's rings.

   cropped and enlarged >  

A couple of other great science communicators.

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki

Karl is my hero. I have listened to him for well over 20 years and he has a great knowledge base on all science subjects. What he doesn't know, he either looks into and finds an answer or contacts someone expert on that subject. He is still on JJJ radio every Thursday. One of my often used lines... as Dr Karl says...

Dr. Fred Watson AM

Fred is a professional astronomer and has been Astronomer in Charge at Siding Spring Observatory for some time. He is a regular on ABC radio and often gives commentary on anything astronomy related on TV. He has a great skill in communicating an often complex subject in easy to understand terms without dumbing-down the material.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil is Carl Sagan's successor and does a fantastic job of opening peoples eyes to the wonders of the cosmos.
Neil, along with Ann Druyan (Carl Sagan's wife) and Seth MacFarlane re-made the Cosmos series and it is a must see for anyone interested in anything and everything in the universe.

Having watched both the original and new version multiple times, I'm a huge fan of all those involved with the creation of both series. They are informative, uplifting and saddening all at the same time. The topic of global warming is discussed at length in both versions and we as a species, knew the writing was on the wall more than 30 years ago........ The reality of this problem is not the desire of the public to change the current trend of global warming but the overbearing influence of a very few selfish, narrow minded individuals who make obscene amounts of money and set policy to keep making more money from the causes of the problems which will ultimately result in the demise of our species.