NASA releases new ‘Pale Blue Dot’ photo for 30th anniversary

The iconic image of the Earth taken by Voyager one space probe just got updated by Nasa. The picture has Earth suspended in a beam of light, almost as a tiny dot set against the black emptiness of the space.

It was taken on 14 February 1990 just half an hour before Voyager’s camera was shutdown for eternity. Now, thirty years after, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has published a new version of this iconic portrait and it’s just magnificent.

Enlarged version of the new Pale Blue Dot release. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Earth looks so tiny in the cosmic background, it makes humanity feel incredibly lonely.  As legendary astronomer, Carl Sagan once put it, “every human being who ever was, lived out their lives” on that tiny dust mote. 

The image was reprocessed by  JPL’s engineer Kevin M. Gill using modern software. The original data captured by Voyager 1 Narrow-Angle Camera was further processed by three spectral filters and with its colour channels rebalanced to reveal more detail in the rays of sunlight scattered by the camera optics.

Even in the new release, Earth is barely visible. The image is a part of the photographs of our solar system taken by Voyager. It was the first-ever picture than captured Earth from so far away, an entirely new vantage point.

The “Pale Blue Dot” is displayed in JPL’s Theodore von Kármán Auditorium to serve as an inspiration to the coming generations.

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