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Why does this picture make me so sad?

Wave goodbye, y’all.

Once Voyager 1’s primary mission was over and its camera was to be shuttered for good, Carl Sagan and a few other teammates requested one last image. On Valentine’s Day, 1990, Voyager did an about-face to look back toward Earth. Hidden within these colorful bands of sunlight is our planet. Look all the way to the right, you’ll see a tiny dot. That’s us.

(The picture is from NASA and NASA is cool about that sort of thing).

It’s from Wired’s Space Photos of the Week. Links being stoopit, clicking it probably won’t take you directly to this page, but all of them are worth looking at.


Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: July 15, 2019, 9:53 pm

“Lost friend” sad or “train whistle at night” sad?
I understand that looking back at “home” when it’s so small, forlorn and indistinguishable from the rest of galactic space can be saddening for a little man-made space critter when you think of how massive earth is to our own individual human presence. As one guy, I’m not much in relation to the mountains and seas, the landmasses and the glaciers of earth, even if it is home. If the vastness of earth is so small when viewed from billions of miles away, we humans are truly tiny.
OTOH, we may find a way to penetrate all this vast emptiness, find a way to see more than we do today, make the galaxy a smaller place just as our exploration has made the earth “smaller” in terms of our ability to access remote nations and peoples. Dark matter and dark energy may be the biggest challenge and the greatest discovery.
The reason they turned the camera off (“to preserve power”) doesn’t make any sense.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: July 16, 2019, 12:35 am

Twinkle twinkle little Earth
How we wonder what you’re worth
Out in space and all alone
You have no friends, what good’s a phone?

Comment from JC
Time: July 16, 2019, 1:29 am

This! https://www.xkcd.com/695/
now, this is sad-making.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 16, 2019, 1:50 am

Now I have a broken heart.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: July 16, 2019, 11:53 am

The OTHER side of this story:


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: July 16, 2019, 3:43 pm

Wait – NASA engineers are still using slide-rules?

The article says they’re still using slide-rules!

Do most people reading the article even know what a slide-rule is!

And I want to why it’s okay for them to be filling space with radiation from isotopes!

(wow, give me a minute and I’ll work climate change in).

Thanks Mark, I figured they were getting some telemetry they considered useful to explain extending it’s life.

Maybe they want to know when it hits the giant invisible space wall that’s out there because….the Universe is FLAT!

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: July 16, 2019, 4:14 pm

@DurnedYankee – I still have the Keuffel & Esser bamboo slide rule my father gave me, and the Pickett log-log duplex trig slide rule I won in high school (1965) by coming in first in the slip-stick tournament.

Slide rules are great if you know and work within their inherent limitations. There’s no battery to die. They don’t seduce you into carrying too many significant digits. They require that you understand your calculation/problem well enough to know what order of magnitude to expect, i.e. where the decimal point goes.

For multi-step calculations to three significant digits, they are faster than digital calculators once you get the hang of them.

Dare I say it? SLIDE RULES RULE!

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: July 16, 2019, 5:22 pm

Slide rule joke – 4 divided by 2 = 1.999… aw hell, call it 2.

I have no idea where mine went – I had 2 really nice aluminum Picketts and a low end plastic one.

I tried to buy one for giggles a couple years back – no one makes them any more.

Comment from Mitchell
Time: July 16, 2019, 8:32 pm

Space is big
Space is dark
It’s tough to find
A place to park


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