Welcome to UK420

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more!

This message will be removed once you have signed in.


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Cambium

Carl Sagan Is Mr X

45 posts in this topic

Thanks for the post Cambium :unsure:

Edited by Twenty_Three

Share this post


Link to post

interesting read cheers :wink:

Share this post


Link to post

An Alien View of Earth

post-33371-1266159608_thumb.jpgpost-33371-1266160925_thumb.jpg

This week marks the 20th anniversary of a photograph. It's a very dramatic photo, even though, at first glance, it's mostly dark and seems to show nothing at all.

But if you look closely, you can see a tiny speck of light. That speck is the Earth, seen from very, very, very far away.

Two decades ago, Candice Hansen-Koharcheck became the first person to ever see that speck, sitting in front of a computer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in California. "I was all alone, actually, that afternoon, in my office," she recalls.

Her office was dark. The window shades were drawn. She was searching through a database of images sent home by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which at the time was nearly 4 billion miles away. "I knew the data was coming back," she says, "and I wanted to see how it had turned out."

Finally, she found it.

"It was just a little dot, about two pixels big, three pixels big," she says. "So not very large."

But this was the Earth — seen as no human had ever seen it before.

What's more, an accidental reflection off the spacecraft made it look as though the tiny speck was being lit up by a glowing beam of light. "You know, I still get chills down my back," says Hansen-Koharcheck. "Because here was our planet, bathed in this ray of light, and it just looked incredibly special."

And yet, if you weren't searching for it, that special little speck would be almost invisible. The Apollo astronauts had taken photos that showed the Earth as a big blue marble, swirling with clouds and continents. But this picture showed the smallness of Earth in the vastness of space.

A New Perspective On The Planet

The late astronomer Carl Sagan eloquently tried to express how he felt about this photo in his book Pale Blue Dot:

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.

Robert Poole, a historian at the University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom who wrote a book on images of Earth from space called Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth, says this particular photo shows what an extraterrestrial might see as it approached our solar system.

"This is not our view. We've managed to go out and get the view that somebody else might have, whereas the early Apollo pictures of the blue marble were our own view of Earth," Poole says. "Like most people, I saw it in the newspaper not long after it was taken and kind of intellectually I thought, 'This is amazing!' "

A Photo That Almost Didn't Happen

Pictures like this are still few and far between. They are not exactly easy to take. In fact, we almost didn't get this one. Sagan lobbied for it early in the Voyager 1 mission. But others objected that taking it might fry the spacecraft's camera. That's because the Earth is so close to our extremely bright sun. "There was a reluctance to take any kind of risk when we would point back towards the sun; we didn't want to accidentally damage the cameras in any way," says Hansen-Koharcheck.

"Oh, there was a lot of debate as to what its value would be," recalls Edward Stone, who was — and still is — the chief scientist for the Voyager mission. "It was not a scientific image. It was really, I think, an image to sort of declare that here, for the first time we could take such an image, and second of all it provided a new perspective of Earth and its place in our solar neighborhood."

But the idea was shelved for years, as Voyager 1 flew through the solar system and did its science, sending images back from Saturn and Jupiter.

In 1989, the mission was winding down — some staff was going to leave. And Sagan made a last-minute request to please, please, take this unique photo before the opportunity disappeared forever. The decision went to the top levels of NASA "because it was going to extend the mission in terms of imaging capability for an additional six months or so and that of course did cost money," explains Stone.

"I did get a visit from Carl Sagan. We talked about a lot of things. And somewhere in that conversation he mentioned this idea," recalls the then-head of NASA, retired Vice Adm. Richard Truly. "I thought, heck, with Voyager so far away, if it could turn around and take a picture of the different planets including the Earth, that that would really be cool. And so I was a great advocate of it, although I can't take any credit for it."

In 1990, late on Feb. 13 — or on Valentine's Day, in the time zone used by the Voyager 1 team — the spacecraft turned its cameras to Earth.

A Relatively Tiny Object In The Vastness Of Space

Later, the image was released to the world to great fanfare. But it never really captured the popular imagination like the famous Apollo images.

"I think it was hard — it's still hard — to get really your head around the fact that our solar system is so immense, compared to Earth," says Stone.

To get the full impact of this photo, Stone says, you really have to see it up on a wall, as part of large panorama that Voyager 1 took of the solar system's distant planets.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab used to have just such a display with the full mosaic of photos posted up in an auditorium, says Hansen-Koharcheck. "And to show the whole thing it covered, oh, I don't know, 12 or 14 feet," she says — of mostly empty black space, with just a few pinpricks of light showing the planets. One of them was labeled Earth.

"One of the guys that took care of that display told me one time that he was forever having to replace that picture," says Hansen-Koharcheck, "because people would come up to look at it and they would always touch the Earth."

Voyager 1 is now about three times farther away than it was 20 years ago, says Stone. The spacecraft still routinely phones home, although its cameras no longer take photos. But if it could send back another picture, the little dot that is Earth would look even fainter and even smaller.

Link and the Voyager Earth guide for Aliens :yep:

Edited by Cambium

Share this post


Link to post

Only just came across this thread, was reading Cosmos last night, Carl Sagan is a legend as is his good friend Dr Grinspoon.

Share this post


Link to post

Wonderful stuff Cambium - thanks for sharing. I am a massive fan of his, ever since I saw the Cosmos series on TV as a youngster.

I had heard of the Mr.X stuff, but have never seen/read the complete text.

Thanks again. :)

Share this post


Link to post

Thankyou for sharing this, there's some beautiful animations from Hubble on youtube, just google "hubble deepfield"... they pointed Hubble at a patch of the sky that appeared to contain nothing, for 11 days I think, when they got the images back...see for yourself.

Stunning.

Gimps.

Share this post


Link to post

just found this now - thank you so much Cambium lol

Share this post


Link to post

Nice bump :stoned: It was good reading that again. Glad you're all enjoying it :D

I'm on the last chapter of Sagans' Contact. I can't help but picture Jodie Fosters face on Dr Arroway :D But what an amazing book. Full of vision and beauty. Amazing read for a stoner :yep: He gets my feeble mind thinking on a cosmic scale. Things seem to make more sense out there, than they do down here.

Share this post


Link to post

Just wanted to add my appreciation for posting this... I've actually really gotten into his work recently myself - his work seems to transcend time. Cosmos is still 99% relevent, and a bloody good watch for any time you're high. Carl was able to speak on such a profound level, and I can only speak for myself here - but some of his words could bring a tear to my eye; his awe of the universe can really make it feel like he's there explaining it all to you personally. He just connects everything so beautifully.

If you haven't already - also check out Richard Feynman. The way he could talk about particle physics is just mindblowing - check out the way he talks about fire. You can see the pure joy he feels just explaining the wonder of it all.

We've lost some fantastic scientists just a touch too early. Their brilliance lives on, and will be built upon further no doubt. RIP fellas, some of the best star stuff ever assembled.

Share this post


Link to post

Jedi Sagan wallpaper lol

post-33371-1284619626_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you so much for that post.

i have the pale blue dot audio book and have always enjoyed listening to it while smoking

never knew carl sagen smoked cannabis, i guess that explains the conection in my head anyway.

westy

Share this post


Link to post

LOVE this thread...

:wink:

not many of those above funnies though..

didn't come across Sagan that much in my looky round the basic constituents of the human universe but, in these days (4-of) of papal visits, it's nice to be reminded that attention to detail is the clue to human superiority..what is there to be known is there to be known by US, as individual humans learning from other individual humans, given whatever resources each has for the accumulation and/or transmission of knowledge..'God' is a macro-cosmic invention of micro-cosmic beings..it is time we took the microcosm out to bully the macro a bit more..it is OUR standpoint it is granted..

It is dis-respectful, to my mind, to imagine there is something better than human beings.

thanks for this post. thanks for this site.

viva las vegas (but sod New Orleans)..

"Martyr. The disciple of a martyr suffers more than the martyr" - Nietzsche (1878).

Philip.K.Dick, before he went zonkers religious, wrote AMAZING books playing around with the nature of micro/macro thinking (paranoia to most folks - 'something sees everything i'm doing all the time)..Michel Foucault wrote sociologically about the same thing in his re-reading of Jeremy Bentham's 'Panopticon' ( a prison design)..

Power to the hour, win it for the minute, second for the second..

cheers guys :wanker:

Share this post


Link to post

ihave been watching the cosmos series recently, is great, still pretty relevant and even has updates on the info at the end of each episode; the thing that gets me about this whole science v religion debate is that for people such as carl sagan, and for me, the sense of wonder that even slightly grasping the immensity and beauty of the universe gives, is, of itself, a "religous" experience; humbling, marvelous and empowering, knowing that you are the universe become concious of itself, no need to look for something greater than where we are and what we are.

Share this post


Link to post
i have been watching the cosmos series recently, is great, still pretty relevant and even has updates on the info at the end of each episode; the thing that gets me about this whole science v religion debate is that for people such as carl sagan, and for me, the sense of wonder that even slightly grasping the immensity and beauty of the universe gives, is, of itself, a "religous" experience; humbling, marvelous and empowering, knowing that you are the universe become concious of itself, no need to look for something greater than where we are and what we are.

my thoughts exactly.

Share this post


Link to post
i have been watching the cosmos series recently, is great, still pretty relevant and even has updates on the info at the end of each episode; the thing that gets me about this whole science v religion debate is that for people such as carl sagan, and for me, the sense of wonder that even slightly grasping the immensity and beauty of the universe gives, is, of itself, a "religous" experience; humbling, marvelous and empowering, knowing that you are the universe become concious of itself, no need to look for something greater than where we are and what we are.

my thoughts exactly.

Fascinating stuff, thanks for posting Cambium. Apparently Noam Chomsky is also very pro Cannabis.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0