In 1990, once NASA's twin Voyager probes had completed their grand tour of the solar system, it came time to shut off their cameras to preserve power and memory for the other scientific instruments onboard. But before that happened, there was one last photo opportunity not to be missed. Carl Sagan, a member of the Voyager Imaging Team, persuaded NASA engineers to turn Voyager I’s cameras back toward the sun and take the first ever ”portrait” of our solar system from outside of it. Taken on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1990, thirty-nine wide-angle views and twenty-one narrow-angle images were combined into the single mosaic image below, a “Solar System Family Portrait,” albeit without Mars, Mercury, or Pluto. Centered in a scattered light ray caused by sunlight in the camera’s optics is a tiny speck, just .12 pixels in size, seen in the image above. That’s Earth from 4 billion miles away -- the “pale blue dot” as Sagan called it.
“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world,” Sagan wrote. “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.”
Below, Sagan's inspiring Pale Blue Dot speech:
I'm one of several guests appearing at the first-ever Interplanetary Festival, coming up Jun 7/8 in Santa Fe, New Mexico; it's a science festival that's part of the larger Futurition|Santa Fe festival, which includes live music, open air events, gaming, art installations, performances, and all-ages events.
The YouTube channel of Magnetic Games (“all the ways to have fun with magnets”) posted high-powered neodymium magnets with names like “The Death Magnet” and “Big Magnet” colliding with one another in high-FPS slo-mo footage. [via]
CFC-11 was phased out under 1987's Montreal Protocol and the immediate halt of its usage has done much to reverse ozone depletion in the years since; but since 2012, atmospheric levels of CFC-11 have risen by 25%, eroding the still-healing ozone layer and suggesting that someone, somewhere, has started manufacturing the substance again.
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