The Pale Blue Dot

Last night, I saw a remarkable image of the pale blue dot (planet Earth) as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft during an eclipse of the sun by Saturn. The image was shown on the California Academy of Sciences Planetarium at the Dean Lecture on astronomy by Dr. Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader from Boulder, Colorado.

Can you find the pale blue dot in this image?

Pale Blue Dot from Cassini

Pale Blue Dot from Cassini Spacecraft, July 19, 2013

Probably not, but click on the image to go to the Cassini project website to see a much better photograph.

So what do we learn from this image? According to Carl Sagan, who Dr. Porco worked with on the Voyager mission,

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
-Carl Sagan, The Pale Blue Dot, 1994

As you can see, there is only one Earth and all of us have to live on it together, in peace, in harmony, in cooperation. If we destroy our planet, we will have nowhere to go and life as we know it could perish.

This photo shows the nature of our interdependence (interbeing) with everything that happens on Earth. People who viewed the image on The Day the Earth Smiled (July 19, 2013) all felt the interbeing nature of our life here on earth. Are you able to see this for yourself? What will you do about it?

Cosmology and Buddhist Thought

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