Four billion miles distant, Earth is a pale blue dot

PIA00452_modestClick this image to see Earth as it appeared nearly twenty years ago from Voyager's vantage as it sped away from our planet on its way out of the solar system. According to a story at NPR,

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab used to have... a display with the full mosaic of photos posted up in an auditorium, says [Candice] Hansen-Koharcheck [who discovered the iconic image as she sat looking at data being returned by the craft]. 'And to show the whole thing it covered, oh, I don't know, 12 or 14 feet,' she says — of mostly empty black space, with just a few pinpricks of light showing the planets. One of them was labeled Earth.

'One of the guys that took care of that display told me one time that he was forever having to replace that picture,' says Hansen-Koharcheck, 'because people would come up to look at it and they would always touch the Earth.'

And Voyager? The doughty metal ship is entering the interstellar medium, further from Earth than any other made object, ever, and still phoning home over the vanishing distance.


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