Pale blue dot
Many people have followed the adventure of the crew aboard space shuttle Discovery which includes Christer Fuglesang, first Scandinavian in space. The opinions about the mission range from “heroic adventure” to “stupid waste of tax money”.
However, I wish that all people on Earth should get the opportunity to see our planet from above. The view is nothing you obtain from ordinary traveling. The waterfalls at Iguacu, depths of Grand Canyon, beaches of Similan and slopes of Santorini are all very beautiful, but viewing Earth from space is what ultimately makes us understand our humanity and place in the universe.
As they were working on the ISS yesterday, the astronauts were 250 miles above the surface. That’s even less than the distance from Gothenburg to Stockholm, and yet they feel so very far away. The biosphere of Earth is incredibly thin from that point of view.
Everyone that has ever lived, everyone you’ve ever read about in history books, they all lived and died on this little sphere. It’s all we got, and we are destroying it.
I would like to quote my favorite astronomer, the late Carl Sagan, from a lecture at Cornell university a decade ago: “Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”