Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

Really look at that graphic.  Think about those words.  More than just words, the photo that accompanies it was the idea of Carl Sagan.  He lobbied NASA for decades to have that photo taken.  You can read the entire soliloquy and see the uncluttered photo at the Planetary Society’s website.  The message of hope behind the Pale Blue Dot… that’s what this book is about.

The means by which Sagan explored that hope is through his understanding of science and the information we’ve gleaned through robotic space exploration, from craft such as Voyager (1 and 2) and Cassini as well as through manned missions like Apollo and Skylab.   The information we gain, Sagan stresses, is not science itself.  How we piece that information together, how we make sense of it… that’s where science unfolds, through testing and collating and comparison.  All of it that we learn, we can directly apply to what we understand about our own earth, and through that, our understanding grows in regards to what’s here as much as to what’s out there.  Pale Blue Dot is as much about the grandeur of the unknown as it is of our insignificance in the heavens, a direct challenge to the idea that we need not be the center of the universe for the universe itself to be full of wonder.  Likewise, the message holds that earth is still very much important to our own survival.

This book was written and narrated for audio by Sagan in 1994.  Since that time, a significant portion of the original audio was lost, as discovered when, in conjunction with the 2014 television production of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (the successor to Sagan’s 1980 series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage), Sagan’s works were gathered together for re-release.  Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan (who cowrote for both Cosmos series), narrates for Sagan in those lost segments.

As with the television presentations, Sagan’s gift beyond just being an excellent scientist was that he was also an educator — not unlike his protégé and successor Neil deGrasse Tyson, continuing where Sagan left off — bringing the wonder of the universe to the rest of us in a manner that we can understand and appreciate.  This is an inspirational work from an inspirational man, giving us an inside glimpse into the journey we share on this Pale Blue Dot.  Books like this have the ability to truly change the world for the better, if only people will read them.  Don’t believe me?  Read it and decide for yourself.


16 thoughts on “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

      • Totally correct and fascinating! Anyway statistic is not a philosophy, it is a science and the science says that the universe is planty of life [Drake equation] and in the next decade we are supposed to have evidence of that. James Webb Space Telescope will do the job!

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’ll see. They’ve been saying we’d evidence since Orson Welles. Personally, I’d love see something — anything — that would make the world sit up and take notice of how important the space sciences are.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think we will not wait much. In few year James Webb Space Telescope (NASA) and European Extremely Large Telescope (ESA) will be able to detect first lights of the universe, the first galaxies, stars formations and even the composition of exoplanets atmosphere. In particular if they will detect in alien atmospheres some gases like water vapor, ozone, oxygen and methane would be evidence of life. This discovery will be a revolution. We will have to rethink the position of humankind in the universe and to plan a new road for the future.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Always an inspiration to consider and reflect on Carl Sagan’s outlook on life and existence. His serious message of caution to the human species from the vantage point of science is a lesson to remember when greed and power under the guise of religious authority consumes the will to rational thought. I love his Cosmos series – his matter of fact tone of delivery is so genuine ….I can’t help but feel for the courage of his convictions and logical overview of life on our planet and the mechanics of the universe.

    Liked by 2 people

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