On 14th February, 1990, the NASA space probe Voyager I rotated in deep space in order to capture one of humanity's most important photographs - us and the pale blue "dust mote" we call home.
In the above image, Voyager I was approximately 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) away from Earth, illuminated wondrously by the sun's reflection on the camera's optics.
Back in 1980 when Voyager I drifted passed Saturn, the idea of the photo was dreamed up by famed astronomer Carl Sagan, who believed the photograph would have a monumental effect on our world's populous - gaining a perspective of our place in the universe and marveling at the sheer minisculity of man - regardless of its lack of scientific significance.
Though Sagan had the support of many members of the Voyager program, some scientists were worried that the process of photographing Earth at such a close proximity to the Sun would damage the spacecraft's optics. It wasn't until 1989 that our, then, last chance of seeing Earth from such a great distance was realized, with more troubles to deviate popping up along the way.
Routine calibrations of Voyager I and redundancies and transferrals of technicians from the Voyager program halted progress of the historic photograph even more so, forcing Sagan's hard work into more jeopardy. But cometh the time, cometh the hero - Richard H. Truly, NASA's 8th Administrator stepped in to make sure that this moment of immeasurable historical importance came to fruition.
1994 saw the publication of Carl Sagan's novel about Voyager I's photograph named The Pale Blue Dot, which discusses the photo's philosophical connotations, the time's knowledge of our solar system and the future of humanity. In the video below Sagan, and his wonderful voice, reads a beautiful excerpt from the book.
25 years have passed since collective minds were blown by The Pale Blue Dot, and we are currently looking toward the incredible prospect of humanity's first one-way manned voyage to Mars, planned by Dutch non-profit organization Mars-One.
Hopefully it won't turn out like Ridley Scott's impending Red Planet based thriller 'The Martian,' in which Matt Damon's Mark Watney finds himself alone and stranded on Mars with no way home.
I guess we'll have to wait until November 25th to see...