On February 14th, 1990, the vehicle-sized flagship of human engineering, known as Voyager 1, swiveled its camera towards a spec in the distance to catch one last glance. As it exited the solar system, it stared for almost a second before saving the memory and shooting it an incredible 3.7 billion miles back to its home.
The photo was dubbed “Pale Blue Dot” by prolific astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan. The image itself contains only a pixel of blue in an immense sea of light rays protruding empty space. It has come to symbolize how unimaginably small and incomprehensively irrelevant our planet is to the universe. And yet instead of irrelevance, many feel a sense of awe and amazement when confronted with such an image. Within the vast expanse of darkness, we are special and exceptional.
Contained in that small pixel is every cherished memory you’ve shared, every dark time you’ve experience and every one you ever will. The magnificent tales of history, as well as those lost to it. Everything happened in that photo. And it’s not easy to make sense of this.