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:
The Giant Magellan Telescope is a marvel of engineering, and Dr. Patrick McCarthy explains the years-long process to make an optic mirror that costs over $20 million.
Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is developing techniques to 3D print human organs for transplant using an individual’s own cells as the “ink.” That way, the transplanted organ won’t trigger the patient’s immune system to reject it as a foreign body. From National Geographic: (For example,) to create an […]
A Scottish team of animal biotechnologists announced this week they successfully introduced human stem cells into sheep embryos. Perhaps one day we will all have our very own baaing organ donors. The team are currently allowed to let the chimeric embryos develop for 28 days, 21 of which are in the sheep. While that might […]
Many of us enjoy the aesthetic of vintage electronics, but trying to use most hardware from the 1950’s isn’t necessarily practical. This is especially true where speakers are concerned. While most of us can appreciate the old-school feel of retro speakers, they have a hard time matching the convenience and power delivered by today’s Bluetooth speakers. […]
Python is one of the most popular and versatile programming languages used by developers today, making it an ideal first choice for those looking to kickstart a career in programming. While you could go back to school or sign up for a pricey coding bootcamp, you can learn the essentials of coding with Python at […]
Going back to school isn’t necessarily an option for everyone. Between the time commitments and steep tuition rates, there are obstacles aplenty as far as furthering education is concerned. However, that’s not to say it’s impossible to learn new skills. Excel with Business lets users access thousands of hours of online learning in Microsoft, business, technology, […]