I’m a bit of a space buff, and have been since being awed by seeing the launch of Columbia (STS-61-C) in January 1986. Despite only just having turned 6 years old I know it was that mission on that date because I remember even clearer the next one; 16 days later, on 28th January 1986; STS-51-L, I’m not sure I totally understood what I was seeing, but I knew it was bad, and it certainly had a big effect on me.
I still get moments of complete awe, most recently while looking at the latest pictures to come back from Cassini, taken whilst Saturn was occluding the sun. They are stunning, all of them, but the moment of awe, of ‘inspirational insignificance’, came when, well, look for yourself; in the top left quadrant, just above where the most prominent rings stop, that white speck, that’s us.
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[A]s we looked back in the direction of the sun, we captured from across the depths of space our own planet, a pale blue orb, seen amidst the pageantry and colorful splendor of Saturn’s rings. Nothing has greater power to alter our perception of ourselves and our place in the cosmos than the sight of Earth from faraway places. In the end, this ever-widening view of our own little planet against the immensity of space is perhaps the greatest legacy of all our interplanetary travels.