PHILOSOPHY AND PERSPECTIVE

PHILOSOPHY AND PERSPECTIVE

The earth appears as a small blue dot against the vastness of space in this film clip.

Just as a mountain-top can provide an overview of a vast landscape, so detachment can provide the practical philosopher with a clear view of himself, his world and his relationship with the world. Photographs of the earth from space have stimulated our questions about our place in the universe since the first earth-rise photograph was taken by an Apollo 8 astronaut in December 1968.

Over twenty years later, In July 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft had completed its primary mission and was about to exit the solar system. Famous astronomer Carl Sagan persuaded NASA to turn its cameras back towards the earth. At this stage, the spacecraft was more than 6 billion kilometres (3.7 billion miles) from Earth. From Voyager’s great distance Earth is a mere point of light shown as a fraction of a pixel (0.12 pixel in size) against the vastness of space.

In this film clip, Carl Sagan speaks about the impact that the photograph had on his view of himself, the world and the nature of human interaction.