And they are among the most powerful, moving words ever penned about our planet.
They are the work of astronomer and philosopher Carl Sagan, the man who pressed Nasa to turn around the Voyager I spacecraft as it sped at 35,700mph to the very edge of our solar system and take a picture.
The resulting photograph of Earth – a pale blue speck in the unimaginable expanse of space fundamentally changed humanity’s view of itself.
Sagan believed the resulting photograph would put the ultimate futility of wars and conflict and hate into perspective by showing just what a tiny speck of cosmic dust the fragile planet we share is.
Astronomer and philosopher Carl Sagan wrote some of the greatest words about planet Earth
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark
And he wrote the following words, which have become legendary in the scientific community:
“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 civilisation, 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 image of Earth as a speck less than 0.12 pixels in size has become known as ‘the pale blue dot’
Planet Earth seen from the edge of our solar system
“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.
“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.
“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.
“Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
A view of the Earth over the Lunar horizon
“Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.
“In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
“The Earth is the only world known so far to harbour life.
“There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.
Sagan believed that showing how tiny Earth is would put the futility of wars into perspective
“Settle, not yet.
“Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.
Voyager I is closer to 14 billion miles away from Earth today
“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.
“To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Now, as Voyager I is properly beyond the solar system and out in interstellar space there are renewed calls in many online space forums for the experiment to be repeated.
Voyager I is closer to 14 billion miles away from Earth today – effectively beyond the gravitational influence of the sun.
Incredibly the satellite, launched in 1977, will fly by the next NEAREST star in 40,000 years.
The Sagan-inspired image of Earth as a speck less than 0.12 pixels in size, has become known as “the pale blue dot”.