“Look again at that dot.”

As Curiosity heads to Mars, and Voyager continues to go boldly further than ever, the BBC reports on some speculative assessments of potentially habitable locations elsewhere in the galaxy. 

A timely reminder, then, from the Guardian’s GrrlScientist of our pale blue dot in this short video tribute to Carl Sagan.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996), Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space [1997: Amazon UK; Amazon US].

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. 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.

[Pale blue dot (Earth from 4 billion miles away). Image: Voyager 1/NASA, 6 June 1990]

And, because I can, here’s Messenger’s last wondrous look home. [NASA’s Messenger probe to Mercury flies past Earth, August 2, 2005. (Image credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)]