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Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sagan traces our exploration of space and suggests that our very survival may depend on the wise use of other worlds. This stirring book reveals how scientific discovery has altered our perception of who we are and where we stand, and challenges us to weigh what we will do with that knowledge. Photos, many in color.

384 pages, Paperback

First published November 8, 1994

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About the author

Carl Sagan

186 books11.1k followers
In 1934, scientist Carl Sagan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. After earning bachelor and master's degrees at Cornell, Sagan earned a double doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1960. He became professor of astronomy and space science and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, and co-founder of the Planetary Society. A great popularizer of science, Sagan produced the PBS series, "Cosmos," which was Emmy and Peabody award-winning, and was watched by 500 million people in 60 countries. A book of the same title came out in 1980, and was on The New York Times bestseller list for 7 weeks. Sagan was author, co-author or editor of 20 books, including The Dragons of Eden (1977), which won a Pulitzer, Pale Blue Dot (1995) and The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark (1996), his hardest-hitting on religion. With his wife, Ann Druyan, he was co-producer of the popular motion picture, "Contact," which featured a feminist, atheist protagonist played by Jodie Foster (1997). The film came out after Sagan's death, following a 2-year struggle with a bone marrow disease. Sagan played a leading role in NASA's Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo expeditions to other planets. Ann Druyan, in the epilogue to Sagan's last book, Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (published posthumously in 1997), gives a moving account of Carl's last days: "Contrary to the fantasies of the fundamentalists, there was no deathbed conversion, no last minute refuge taken in a comforting vision of a heaven or an afterlife. For Carl, what mattered most was what was true, not merely what would make us feel better. Even at this moment when anyone would be forgiven for turning away from the reality of our situation, Carl was unflinching. As we looked deeply into each other's eyes, it was with a shared conviction that our wondrous life together was ending forever."

For his work, Dr. Sagan received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service, as well as the NASA Apollo Achievement Award. Asteroid 2709 Sagan is named after him. He was also awarded the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award of the American Astronautical Society, the Explorers Club 75th Anniversary Award, the Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Medal of the Soviet Cosmonauts Federation, and the Masursky Award of the American Astronomical Society, ("for his extraordinary contributions to the development of planetary science…As a scientist trained in both astronomy and biology, Dr. Sagan has made seminal contributions to the study of planetary atmospheres, planetary surfaces, the history of the Earth, and exobiology. Many of the most productive planetary scientists working today are his present and former students and associates").

He was also a recipient of the Public Welfare Medal, the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Sagan was elected Chairman of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, President of the Planetology Section of the American Geophysical Union, and Chairman of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For twelve years he was the editor-in-chief of Icarus, the leading professional journal devoted to planetary research. He was cofounder and President of the Planetary Society, a 100,000-member organization that is the largest space-interest group in the world; and Distinguished Visiting Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.

In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his "research transformed planetary science… his gifts to mankind were infinite." D. 1996.

More: https://ffrf.org/news/day/dayitems/it...

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Profile Image for Stian.
86 reviews128 followers
October 18, 2020
For the majority of my life, reading was never an interest. At all. I spent most of my childhood watching movies and playing video games and football. Reading was boring, time-consuming and pointless.
But then, when I was around sixteen or so, something happened that changed my life drastically. I discovered Carl Sagan.

I still remember buying the DVD set of Cosmos, unpacking it, excitedly starting it, and turning the volume up to the max. I watched all the episodes in a day: I couldn't stop. And then it happened. For the first time in my life, I ordered some books. The first three books I ever bought were all by Carl. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium, and finally, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Pale Blue Dot was the first I read, and it was mindblowing for me at the time. It was so illuminating. It's hard to describe the impact it had on me. Coupled with Cosmos and a number of videos on Youtube of Carl speaking, it completely changed my life - for the better. When I discovered Carl (and in extension, books, science, philosophy) I was horribly depressed and struggling with a variety of things. Upon discovering him, I realised that there is more to life than bad movies, football, and wasteful video games.

I still remember reading him, or watching Cosmos, or watching a lecture of his on Youtube, and listening attentively; I would then go to my parents and sit there for an hour or more, lecturing them about what I just heard or read. Probably I did not convey everything accurately but that wasn't the point either. I bought a telescope, and stayed up all night looking at the stars and the moon and listening to him on my MP3. Somehow, looking at those stars, and listening to him, and not only listening but finding what he said logical, reasonable -- an explanation as to why we are here that isn't religious or superstitious, but still much more beautiful than what any religion can come up with -- it gave some much-needed meaning to my life. It's strange how you can be punched in the gut by the vast meaninglessness of it all, and that's exactly where you find meaning.

This is where it all started for me. Because of Carl (and yes, I will persist in calling him 'Carl', damn it), I discovered Richard P. Feynman. Because of Feynman I discovered Paul Dirac. All of this science-related. This led me to Arthur C. Clarke and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Eventually I discovered George Orwell, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Albert Camus, and all those other writers who have enriched my life ever since.

So it was Carl, and this book in combination with Cosmos, that paved way for it all. My entire intellectual life is all because of him. It is almost certain that had I not come across Carl when I did, I would have remained depressed. Although my interest in science has waned (primarily because of my lack of proficiency in mathematics more than anything else), and my opinions and thoughts have changed (and continue to change all the time) I am still eternally grateful to Carl for opening the door for me to... well, thought. Most importantly, though, he showed me that life might be worth living after all.

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic."
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 8 books16k followers
February 17, 2021

من تلك البقعة البعيدة الممتازة قد لا تبدو لكوكب الأرض أي أهمية ‏خاصة ولكن بالنسبة لنا يختلف الأمر. انظر مرة أخرى إلى هذه ‏النقطة. إنه هناك: الوطن. ها نحن. عليها يوجد كل من تحبه، كل من ‏تعرفه، كل من سمعت عنه، كل إنسان كان موجودا في أي وقت. إن ‏جميع أفراحنا ومعاناتنا، وآلاف الأديان والأيديولوچيات والمذاهب ‏الاقتصادية الواثقة، كل قناص أو مغير، كل بطل أو جبان، كل مبدع ‏أو مدمر للحضارة، كل ملك أو فلاح، كل شاب وفتاة متحابين، كل أم ‏وكل أب، كل طفل واعد، كل سياسي فاسد، كل "نجم لامع" من نجوم ‏الفن، كل "قائد أعلى"، كل قديس أو آثم في تاريخ نوعنا... قد عاش ‏هنا - على هذه الذرة من الغبار المعلقة في شعاع شمس‏...

انظر لهذه الصورة جيدا
وطننا الذي لا نعرف سواه
نحن هذه النقطة المشار إليها بالسهم
ها نحن ذا عبر الفضاء
كل هذا التاريخ
المزيف منه والواقعي
حدث عند تلك النقطة

هي صورة التقطها المسبار الفضائي فوياجر لكوكبنا البائس عام 1990‏
وهي من أوحت لسيجن بهذا العنوان
وربما لا يوجد توضيح لحماقة تصورات الإنسان أفضل من هذه ‏الصورة المأخوذة عن بعد لعالمنا الصغير. وبالنسبة لي، فإن هذه ‏الصورة تؤكد مسؤوليتنا في التعامل مع بعضنا البعض بمزيد من ‏الرعاية والعطف،ومسؤوليتنا في حماية هذه النقطة الزرقاء الباهتة ‏والاعتزاز بها، فهي الوطن الوحيد الذي عرفناه


إنها رؤية سيجن المستقبلية

نحن نتحدث عن مستقبل أحفاد أحفاد أحفادك‏
فمن يا ترى في خضم هذا العالم بمشكلاته الراهنة قد يجد وقتا ‏للتفكير في أشياء كهذه..؟

بالتأكيد ليس أنت ولا أنا
ولكن هناك بعض البشر يستطيعون الانغماس في تأملاتهم‏
ووضعها فلسفة وشعر وأدب خالد
شاهد على أننا لم نتحول جميعا مسوخ بعد

أنه لا يزال هناك نوع من الأمل


يقدم العالم العظيم كارل سيجن رؤيته الخاصة‏
عن كوكبنا الأرضي ‏
وجيرانه في المجموعات الشمسية القريبة
بمداراتها وأقمارها وغرائبها وألقها‏

ويحاول أن يتكهن بمستقبلنا في الفضاء
كوننا الكائنات الوحيدة العاقلة التي نعرفها حتى الآن

ويضع بعض الحلول التي تعتمد على فكرة ‏
انتقالنا يوما إلى كواكب أخرى
نستطيع أن نجعل منها أماكن أهلا للحياة البشرية
انتقال البشرية إلى آفاق أرحب


يرثي سيجن لنا المخلوقات الأرضية
وكيف دمرنا أنفسنا بيدينا مرة تلو الأخرى
في حروب لا تنتهي
وسعي متعطش من الجميع للسيطرة عبر التاريخ‏
‏ وكيف لا نزال ندمر أرضنا تلك
حاكمين عليها بالهلاك باستهتارنا المتواصل بالحفاظ على البيئة
لحماية أنفسنا والأجيال القادمة من الشر الكبير الحائق بتلك النقطة ‏الزرقاء التي نعيش بفضلها
‎ ما الأرض سوى بقعة صغيرة للغاية، في مسرحٍ كوني عظيم‎
تأمل لوهلةٍ ﻛﻞ أﻧﻬﺎر اﻟﺪم اﻟﺘﻲ أراﻗﻬﺎ جنرالات الحرب واﻷﺑﺎﻃﺮة من ‏أجل أن يصبحوا أسياداً لحظيين ﻋﻠﻰ ﻛﺴﺮة ﺿﺌﻴﻠﺔ ﻣﻦ ﻫﺬه اﻟﻨﻘﻄﺔ..‏‎
تأمل لوهلةٍ الوحشية التي ملأت قلوب شعب عاش على إحدى زوايا ‏هذه النقطة، ليغور ويتغلب على شعب آخر، عاش على زاوية أخرى ‏منها... إﻧﻨﺎ بالكاد نستطيع تمييز ﺑﻌﻀﻬﻢ البعض‎
ﺗﺮى، ﻣﺎ ﻣﺪى سوء الفهم ﺑﻴﻨﻬﻢ؟‎
ما ﻣﺪى توقهم لقتل أحدهم الآخر؟‎
كم كانت كراهيتهم الشديدة وبغضهم لبعضهم البعض؟‎

كثير منا يعرف أن رحلات ناسا المتتابعة إلى القمر ‏
كان هدفها الأساسي سياسي ‏
وذلك وقت الحرب الباردة بين أمريكا والسوفييت
وقت التسابق المحموم بين الدولتين العظمتين على إثبات الريادة ‏والجدارة
لقد أرادت أمريكا أن تسبق السوفيت
كي تضع علمها على سطح القمر
وتعلن للعالم أنها رقم 1‏
فوق الجميع

فأي غرور تغلغل في البشر
وكيف منه الخلاص

صحيح أنه لم يبقى من كل هذا الهذيان سوى كلمات خالدة

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

ولكن ماذا يعني ذلك سوى مزيد من الدمار ‏
سنجلبه يوما معنا إلى كوكب المستقبل المنشود ذاك

إن أخلاقياتنا تلك هي موضع خوف سيجن‏
إنه يتساءل كيف لنا أن نُستأمن على الكواكب الأخرى ‏
إن حدث واستطعنا الانتقال إلى إحداها يوما


صدر الكتاب في عام 1997 ‏
وهو من أواخر مؤلفات العالم الكبير
وستشعر فيه بتلك المرارة التي يعانيها مع تقدمه في السن
وشعوره ببعض اليأس من كل شيء حوله‏
سواء كان يأسا فلسفيا تحمله تأملاته على التعبير عنه
أو يأس من نوع آخر قد لا نتفهمه تماما
كميزانية ناسا والأبحاث العلمية عموما

فهو ينتقد الدعم المتواصل الذي لا يعرف حدود للتسليح
وغيرها من الأمور التي ستؤدي في النهاية
إلى دمار البشرية‏
وفي نفس الوقت تستنكر الدولة بسياسييها وأعضاء الكونجرس ‏الموقرين مجرد التفكير في دعم ناسا والبحث العلمي
ما قد ينفع البشرية ويقيها الدمار الغبي الذي يهددها في كل لحظة‏‎ ‎


تختلط في الكتاب -كعادة سيجن الفلسفة بالعلم المبسط والأكاديمي أيضا‏
كلهم ممزوجين بعاطفة قوية يبثها سيجن عبر سطوره
تلك الرؤية إنسانية التي تحاول محاربة النزعات العرقية والعنصرية ‏الغالبة على بني البشر
لينتج في النهاية كتا عظيم جديد
قطعة من روح سيجن الأثيرية
تركها لنا ورحل إلى أجداده النجوم

Profile Image for Ben.
116 reviews12 followers
October 1, 2008
I recently came across several references to this book while reading the superb God Delusion. I was intrigued, and since it had been quite a while since I read Cosmos, I decided to give Carl Sagan another go.
Besides his beautiful evocative descriptions of moons and worlds in our own Solar system, Sagan gave us a surplus of inspirational and cautionary passages in this work which--even as an adult--make you want to grow up to be an astronaut.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,180 followers
January 25, 2020
Once, in German class, I recommended Carl Sagan’s magnificent Cosmos television series to a classmate. “Wow,” she said. “That’s the first time somebody suggested Carl Sagan to me who wasn’t a pothead.” I wasn’t sure if that was an insult or a compliment; I said “thanks” anyway.

Although I’m sure Carl Sagan can be enjoyed in a variety of altered states, he can be enjoyable for those of us here on earth too. In fact, the message of this book can (if one can stomach the cliché) justly be described as “sobering.” It is, at the very least, serious.

There are several components to Sagan’s message, though they are all intertwined. The first is simply to bring home how huge, how tremendously large, how stunningly vast, is the universe. The cosmos is bigger and more complex than anyone had dared thought. Humans are wont to place themselves in the center of things. We have invented a thousand cosmologies, full of heroes and villains, gods and beasts; yet, fecund as it is, the human imagination seems particularly unable (or perhaps unwilling) to imagine ourselves as we are: insignificant.

Sagan goes through every human conceit he can get his hands on, and (not without a smile of satisfaction) proceeds to knock them all down. The universe appears to be sublimely indifferent to our survival. This is scary. At least, Sagan thinks so; and he wants you to think so too. Sagan would have us do our best, despite our reluctance, to think of the earth, not as the stage of our petty dramas, but as it appears from the outside: a speck in space.

This leads Sagan to his next general point: we are all in this together. As we contemplate our cosmic insignificance, our various provincial loyalties seem even more insignificant still. If the universe is indifferent to human life, it is surely indifferent to this year’s election results, to religious struggles, to racist conceits. We are, in short, on our own; and since no help is coming from outside, we have to help one another. The earth is not the mighty center of things we had once thought; it is, instead, fragile. And faced with this infinite dark, we must realize that what unites humans far outweighs what divides us.

But added to the general hazards that come with living on a bit of cosmic dust, we have invented hazards for ourselves. For the first time in our species’s history, we have developed technologies capable of destroying human life altogether. Some of these are intentionally malicious, such as nuclear warheads; but others result from a lack of prudence, such as our enthusiastic fossil-fuel burning. Sagan sees the human race at present as a bunch of pre-teens playing with daddy’s gun; he wants us to keep the safety on.

Technology isn't, however, all bad; we have also used our technology to make great strides. We have explored the solar system, sending out probes to distant planets; and this information has allowed scientists to better understand our own planet. It is because of our space exploration that we now understand our own fragility. But space exploration has not only yielded knowledge; it has created opportunities. Sagan is very optimistic about the human future in space. Not only does he think it can happen, but he thinks it must happen, if we are to survive in the long run. The dinosaurs were destroyed by an asteroid; why not us? We need to spread ourselves out, as a kind of cosmic insurance policy. We will travel throughout the solar system and beyond, carving out hospitable environments for human life on other worlds.

This is the final piece of the puzzle. Technology is, in itself, indifferent; it can be used creatively or destructively. We have, at present, weapons unimaginable to people living just 100 years ago; we have also medicine incomparably better. What will make the difference in the long run, says Sagan, is not technology per se, but technology combined with good judgment. And how does one cultivate good judgment? It has many facets: a skeptical attitude, a willingness to learn, a pragmatic approach, and a readiness to place truth over dogma, facts over wishes. And all these are embodied in the scientific attitude. That’s why books like this are so important: they teach science to the world.

So there’s his argument. It doesn’t require any drugs to appreciate that, right?

As a side note, I’d like to recommend the audiobook version of this work. It is (mainly) narrated by Sagan, whose deep, booming voice never fails to give me goosebumps. Annoyingly, Sagan sometimes trades off with another voice actor, who has a very nasal and uninspiring voice; but Sagan does read most of the lyrical bits.

Speaking of lyrical bits, there are some parts of this book that are quite simply beautiful. Sagan is a consistently strong writer; but he is occasionally able to reach remarkable heights. What is, I think, the secret of his eloquence is his awe for the natural world. “Wonder” is simply not a strong enough word for the breathless astonishment he feels when looking up at the night sky. Sagan manages to combine a sense of both religious reverence and scientific scrutiny. This is no mean feat. For my part, I find the two feelings opposed to one another.

I could go on about the fascinating descriptions of other worlds, the interesting facts about NASA’s various missions, Sagan’s remarkable breadth of knowledge, and his love of aliens; but I think I’ll leave that for my fellow reviewers. After all, Goodreads, like the International Space Station, is a cooperative venture, international in scope, and exploratory in nature.
Profile Image for P.E..
762 reviews529 followers
April 16, 2021
Humbling vistas

'Pale Blue Dot', updated version of a photograph of the Earth, 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) away, taken by Voyager in 1990, part of the 'Family Portrait of the Solar System' series of photographs

Main themes:

- A quick overview of the history of mankind, our migrations & thirst for discovery, our technical achievements, ...

- The actual place of mankind in the known universe (exposing various anthropocentrist myths about the unique position of the human species, Earth, the solar system in the universe)

- A survey of the Solar Sytem, planets and some natural satellistes, as known around 1994.

- Various experiments to try and send/receive radio emissions from extraterrestrial species.

The Arecibo Message, 1974

- The future of space exploration. Carl Sagan furthers future space exploration projects, in keeping with an estimation of Earth's 'lifespan' and the wide array of issues we are facing now: global warming, future collision with an asteroids... According to the author, space exploration helps us better understand Earth itself

- Advocating space colonization, terraforming, while warning against reckless ventures to attract asteroids near Earth for mining purposes in the future. And not be content with mere orbital stations.

Table of Contents:

Wanderers - An Introduction
01. You Are Here
02. Aberrations of Light
03. The Great Demotions
04. A Universe Not Made For Us
05. Is There Intelligent Life on Earth
06. The Triumph of Voyager
07. Among the Moons of Saturn
08. The First New Planet
09. An American Ship at the Frontiers
10. Sacred Black
11. Evening and Morning Star
12. The Ground Melts
13. The Gift of Apollo
14. Exploring Other Worlds
15. The Gates of the Wonder World Open
16. Scaling Heaven
17. Routine Interplanetary Violence
18. The Marsh of Camerina
19. Remaking the Planets
20. Darkness
21. To The Sky

The Pioneer Plaque, 1972

Suggested readings:

The Martian Chronicles
De la Terre à la Lune
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Writers quoted (among others):
Herman Melville, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Jack Williamson...

Radio waves:

Voyager Golden Record Audio

Cover of the Voyager Golden Record, aboard both Voyager spacecrafts launched in 1977
Profile Image for HaMiT.
166 reviews28 followers
December 27, 2019

غمگینم که اینقدر دیر با کارل سیگن آشنا شدم و خوشحالم توی آخرین روزهای سال و دهه ی میلادی این کتاب رو خوندم
چقدر به آدم هایی مثل سیگن نیاز داریم
آدم هایی که به معنای واقعی کلمه نوری هستند در تاریکی و حتی بعد از مرگ هم نوشته هاشون کور سوی امیدی هست برای نسل بشر
تنها همین بخش از کتاب رو براتون میذارم
آپلود عکس

دوباره به آن نقطه نگاه کن. آن نقطه همین‌جاست. آن نقطه خانه است. آن نقطه ماییم. بر روی آن هر که را دوست داری، هر که را که می‌شناسی، هر آن که تابه‌حال نامش را شنیده‌ای، هر انسانی که تاکنون بوده است، زندگی‌شان را سپری نموده‌اند. جمعِ تمامی خوشی‌ها و رنج‌هایمان، هزاران دین مطمئن، ایدئولوژی‌ها و دکترین‌های اقتصادی، هر شکارچی و گردآورنده‌ای، هر قهرمان و بُزدلی، هر خالق و نابود‌کننده‌ی تمدنی، هر شاه و رعیتی، هر زوج جوان عاشقی، هر مادر و پدری، هر بچه امیدواری، هر مخترع و کاشفی، هر معلمِ اخلاقی، هر سیاست‌مدار فاسدی، هر «فوق ستاره‌ای»، هر «رهبر کبیری»، هر قدّیس و گنه‌کاری در تاریخ گونه‌ی ما آن‌جا زندگی کرده است، بر روی ذرّه‌ی گردی معلّق در یک شعاع نور

زمین صحنه بسیار کوچکی در عرصه‌ی وسیع گیتی است. به رودهای خونی که توسط ژنرال‌ها و امپراتورها ریخته شده تا باافتخار و پیروزمند، بتوانند اربابان زودگذر جزئی از یک نقطه شوند، به بی‌رحمی‌های بی‌شماری که از ساکنان یک‌گوشه‌ی این نقطه علیه ساکنان مشابه گوشه‌ای دیگر سرزده بیندیش، چه مکرّر است عدم تفاهم‌های‌شان، چه مشتاق‌اند به کشتن یکدیگر، چه پُر‌حرارت است نفرت‌های‌شان

رفتارهای‌مان، خودبزرگ‌بینی خیالی‌مان، توّهم این که یک جایگاه ویژه در عالم داریم، توسط این نقطه کم‌نور به چالش کشیده شده است. سیاره ما یک ذرّه‌ی تنهای احاطه‌شده در تاریکی عظیم کیهانی است. در گمنامی‌مان، در تمامی این وسعت، هیچ نشانی از این نیست که کمکی از جایی برای نجات از دست خودمان برسد

زمین تنها دنیای شناخته‌شده‌ای است که تاکنون زندگی را پناه داده است. هیچ کجای دیگری نیست، حداقل در آینده نزدیک که گونه‌ی ما بتواند به آن مهاجرت کند. سر زدن، شاید اقامت هنوز خیر. چه خوشتان بیاید چه نه، در حال حاضر آخرین و تنها سنگر ما زمین است

گفته شده است که نجوم تجربه‌ی متواضع‌کننده و شخصیت‌ساز است. شاید هیچ اثباتی برای حماقتِ غرور بشری بهتر از این تصویرِ دور، از دنیای کوچکمان نباشد. برای من، این تأکیدی بر مسئولیتمان است که با یکدیگر مهربان‌تر رفتار کنیم و نقطه آبی کم‌رنگ، تنها خانه‌ای که تاکنون شناخته‌ایم را گرامی داشته، محافظت نماییم

آپلود عکس

اینم نوشته ی بالا هست از زبان خود کارل سیگن
گوش کنید و از صدای گرمش لذت ببرید
Profile Image for Mohammad Ranjbari.
223 reviews144 followers
May 6, 2020
نقطۀ آبی کمرنگ

مطالعۀ این کتاب برای من توأم با لحظاتی سرشار از حیرت و خوشی و ابهام بود. به معنای واقعی کلمه در سطر به سطر مطالب غرق شدم و گاه پیدا کردن خود با چشمانی خیره بر این سطور و یا کتاب در دست تعجب برانگیز بود. رفت و بازگشت به دنیایِ تعریف شدۀ این کتاب و دنیایی که برای ما بسیار عادی جلوه می‌کند.این کتاب دنیای تازه و بکری از تمام واقعیت‌ها و آرزوهایی‌ست که چندیل نسل انسان‌ها در روح و ذهنشان {چه در تاریخ و فلسفه و هنر و سینما و موسیقی‌شان و چه در زندگی واقعی} پرورده‌اند و کارل سیگن زبان گویای همۀ آن‌ها شده است. اگر برای خودم قلمروی فکری در موضوع نجوم و کیهان قائل بودم، اذعان می‌کنم این قلمروی شخصیِ فرضی با مطالعۀ این کتاب درهم شکست و بسیار فراتر رفت.

منظومۀ شمسی جولانگاه آیندۀ انسان‌هایی‌ست که با اتکا بر ��انشِ روزافزون و تکنولوژی تسریع یافته، سعی در زمینی‌سازی دنیاها و دنیاچه‌های دیگر دارند. مقصد بعدی عاشق شدن‌های ما می‌تواند در جو زمین، ماه، مریخ و قمر سیارۀ زحل یعنی تیتان باشد، یا بر روی سیارک‌های کوچکِ قابل استخراج. شاید در آینده‌ای نه چندان دور صدای گریۀ نخستین کودک غیر زمینی به زمین مخابره گردد و ما انسان‌ها همسایۀ همدیگر در منظومۀ شمسی باشیم. ما اکنون در آستانۀ جهانی می‌باشیم که از یکسو سعی در شناخت بیش‌تر و از سوی دیگر به دنبال کشف و تحت سیطره آوردن آن هستیم.

ما انسان‌ها خود را مرکز عالم می‌دانستیم. نظریۀ زمین مرکزی شکست خورد و زمین در مقابل خ��رشید و دیگر ستارگان سر تعظیم فرود آورد. هر روز از خاص بودن انسان و جهانش کاسته شد تا اینکه متوجه شدیم ما سیاره‌ای حقیر در بین میلیاردها میلیارد کهکشانی هستیم که هر یک از آن‌ها می‌تواند پذیرای میلیاردها منظومۀ شمسی باشد!
کارل سیگن، تاریخچۀ اغلب پروازهای فضایی و نتایج آن‌ها را برای خواننده بازگو می‌کند. حدس‌های او دربارۀ چندین سال بعد از خودش و آیندۀ نزدیک و دور بسیار در دسترس و قابل تأمل است. تلنگر ذهنی او تصویر ارسال شدۀ فضاپیمای کاسینی از زمین است که از جوار زحل گرفته شده است. 8 میلیارد انسان و چندین هزار زبان و دین و فرهنگ و ... همه در این نقطۀ آبی کمرنگ جمع شده است. این همۀ ما هستیم که در یک نقطۀ کوچک جا گرفته‌ایم. در برابر ما تاریکی آنقدر گسترش یافته که شبیه ترسی منتشر شده ورای منظومه ‌شمسی را برای ما فعلاً غیر قابل دسترس کرده است. دورترین قدم های ما توسط ویجر 1 و 2 برداشته شده که آن‌ها هم تازه از مرزهای منظومه شمسی خارج شده‌اند. قیاس کنید در این فواصل: نزدیک‌ترین ستاره به ما (آلفا قنطورس) چهار و نیم سال نوری، دورترین مسافت عالم سیزده و هشت میلیارد سال نوری!

هر چند انسان خود را در عرصۀ عالم {فعلاً} تنها فرض می‌کند، اما دیر یا زود این تنهایی به تاریخ خواهد پیوست. چه این خبر، خبرِ یافت حیات جدید از یک میکروب ساده و گیاه گرفته تا موجودات هوشمند، یا دریافت سیگنالی از جهانی دوردست باشد، می‌توان حدس زد که نهایتِ این‌همه جستجو و شوق و امید منتج به نتیجه‌ای خواهد شد و در بدبینانه‌ترین حالت هم، سیاره‌ای در این پهنای وسیع خواهد بود که به حیات روی خوش نشان دهد. اولین سیگنال‌های رادیو و تلوزیون و تکنولوژی ما حدود صد سال است که در فضا پراکنده می‌شوند تا حضور ما را اعلام کنند. در این محدودۀ وسیع، این مدتِ اندک کافی نیست ولی برای آینده باید منتظر بود.

کارل ساگان برای من اندیشمندی تلقی می‌شود که در قله‌های دانش، به خصوص دانش ستاره شناسی و زیست‌شناسی قرار می‌گیرد. چندین قرن لازم است تا کسی چون اویی باشد و چنین کتابی را به نگارش درآورد. لذتِ حاصل از فرو ریختن تصورات ماقبل از مطالعۀ این کتاب، بر تمامی اوقات بعد از آن وصف ناکردنی‌ست.

پی‌نوشت: با اشارۀ این کتاب پی بردم که سیگن نویسندۀ کتاب «تماس» نیز هست. فیلم زیبای «تماس» با بازی بسیار عالی جودی فاستر از دست دادنی نیست.


Profile Image for WarpDrive.
272 reviews388 followers
October 13, 2018
As Oscar Wilde once said: "we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars".
Carl Sagan is one of those thought leaders who direct our sights and aspirations to the best of what humankind can potentially achieve, and inspires us to find the courage to ask the deeper questions, and to nurture our willingness to embrace "what is true rather than what feels good".
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,057 reviews364 followers
June 16, 2017
There was a time when I simply could NOT get enough of Carl Sagan. I read everything he wrote, watched every documentary that he made. I adore him still. Pale Blue Dot is NOT like Cosmos, the book with which most people are familiar. Cosmos dealt with astronomy and gave you a basic understanding of the entire "cosmos" in a way that you would understand. It's one of the reasons it is so popular. In Pale Blue Dot, Sagan is speaking to those who love the Earth, love its relationship to the Cosmos, how it is all interconnected together and how the "pale blue dot" has to survive in order for the rest of the cosmos to survive. It is a book about space, the future of space exploration and our future there and whether it will save us all. This book is truly Carl Sagan at his very best and, if you are Sagan fan, I dare you to read it without hearing the words, "Billllions and Billlions of years ago...." in a way only he could do.
Profile Image for Rosh.
1,448 reviews1,400 followers
December 13, 2021
This was enlightening, though a tad outdated. (Not surprising, considering that it was published in 1994. The space programmes in various countries have crossed several new frontiers since.) The content covers not just what the tagline suggests (human future in space) but also focusses on space insights through the ages. In other words, it devotes an equal time to how we reached here and where we go from the “here” as of 1994.

I enjoyed the various space related anecdotes such as the naming of the planets, the Apollo missions, or the contents of the data discs on the two Voyagers. (I actually enjoyed every titbit about the Voyagers) I especially loved the section on where Sagan mulls over the justification for a human Mars mission, taking into account all pros and cons and weighing them very practically rather than claiming that such a mission is a must.

The book gets a tad too dry at times. Nevertheless, it’s a science classic for a strong reason. Much recommended.

Yuval Noah Harari needs to learn from Carl Sagan how to put across his point logically without demeaning anyone.

4.25 stars.

Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.
Profile Image for ade_reads.
317 reviews23 followers
November 5, 2016
The title of the book, Pale Blue Dot, was taken from the instantly infamous Pale Blue Dot photograph taken by Voyager 1 in 1990. The back story to that image is worth describing before actually talking about the book itself.

Here is the image,


Can you see Earth? Can you see our tiny little Earth? Look harder. There, ‘suspended in a sunbeam,’ is a tiny pale blue dot.

This is what Sagan had to say:

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

A great book. It's worth every page. Highly recommend reading.
Profile Image for AndrewP.
1,403 reviews32 followers
November 13, 2020
Even though this book was written in 1994 it's still highly relevant today. We have learnt a lot more about the planets since then with the numerous Mars rovers, the Cassini mission to Saturn and other missions way out as far as Pluto. Advances in space based telescopes have told us that exoplanets are very common, in fact most stars seem to have them. Back when this was written it was only a theory that other stars would have planets. I found myself wondering what Carl would have written if he were still alive today and privy to this new knowledge.

There are lot's of memorably quotes in this book so I am not going to list any of them here. They can easily be found in other places.
Profile Image for Orhan Pelinkovic.
88 reviews154 followers
June 26, 2020
Consider this book as Part 2 to Carl Sagan's Cosmos. If you enjoyed reading the Cosmos, then feel free to pick this one up, if you haven't read the Cosmos, read it first then continue with a Pale Blue Dot.

I've read the Ballantine Book 1994 Edition / Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan / 384 pages / 103,295 words.
Profile Image for Joshua.
67 reviews6 followers
August 22, 2007
WOW....WOW....WOW. Carl Sagan, what a champ. Fiction from scientists/astrologists may be a bummer (see Contact), but Carl drops the BOMB in this work. Truly ahead of his time and a great american. A great intro into science/astrology and really helped me understand a lot about all the planets and their make-up. Once we kill earth (pretty soon), perhaps we aren't TOTALLY fucked, their are other options out there if we get with it...but hey, we killed earth so why listen to Sagan. I drive an SUV, i'm totally an asshole....but whatver you may be a fat capitalist.

Here is a great quote from the book that I spread around on Earth Day.

"By this point your expedition to the Earth must be considered highly successful. You've characterized the enviroment; you've detected life; you've found manifestations of intelligent beings' you may even have identified the dominant species, the one transfixed with geometry and rectilinearity. Surely this planet is worth a longer and more detailed study. That's why you've now inserted your spacecraft into orbit around the Earth.

Looking down on the planet, you uncover new puzzles. All over the Earth, smokestacks are pouring carbon dioxide and toxic chemicals into the air. So are the dominant beings who run on the roadways. But carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. As you watch, the of it in the atmosphere increases steadily, year after year. The same is true of methane and other greenhouse gases. If this keeps up, the temperature of the planet is going to increase. Spectroscopically, you discover another class of molecules being injected into the air, the chlorofluorocarbons. Not only are they greenhouses gases, but they are also devastatingly effective in destroying the protective ozone layer.

You look more closely at the center of the South American continent, which (as you know by now) is a vast rain forest. Every night you see thousands of fires. In the daytime, you find the region covered with smoke. Over the years, all over the planet, you find less and less forest and more and more scrub desert.

You look down on the large island of Madagascar. The rivers are colored brown, generating a vast stain in the surrounding ocean. This is topsoil being washed out to sea at a rate so high that in another few decades there will be none left. The same thing is happening, you note, at the mouths of rivers all over the planet.
But no topsoil means no agriculture. In another century, what will they eat? What will they breathe? How will they cope with a changing and more dangerous enviroment?

From your orbital perspective, you can see that something has unmistakably gone wrong. The dominant organisms, whoever they are (who have gone to so much trouble to rework the surface) are simultaneously destroying their ozone layer and their forests, eroding their topsoil, and performing massive, uncontrolled experiments on the planet's climate. Haven't they noticed what's happening? Are they oblivious to their fate? Are they unable to work together on behalf of the enviroment that sustains them all?

Perhaps, you think, it's time to reassess the conjecture that there's intelligent life on Earth."
Profile Image for معتز عناني.
Author 1 book71 followers
September 18, 2013
يأخذك كارل ساجان من موطنك ويسافر بك بعيداً عن خارج الأرض ،، ليبدأ عقلك في بناء تصورات صحيحة عن الفضاء وبعيدة عن خرافات الأفلام الغربية التي تُزرع في أدمغتنا مع الوقت . خلال تصفح الكتاب سيحاول الكاتب اقناعك بالفلسفة الوجودية في رسائل مختلفة بالهجوم على الدين في موقع ،، وعلى عابدي الأفك��ر التقليدية في موقع اخر .

تستطيع تخليص الكتاب في : " ان كوكب الارض بكامله مجرد نقطة ، وموقع سكننا الخاص مجرد زاوية متناهية الصغر " وبهذا وجب علينا ان ندرك اننا لسنا عظماء كما ندعي ،، بل علينا ان نتعقل وننضج كبشر لنتوقف عن قتل احدنا الاخر ،، ونبدأ للنتعاون في كشف هذا الظلام الخارجي وما يمكن ان نتعلمه من تبعات .

الكتاب هو دعوة صريحة للعلم ، واستكشاف المجهول ، ممزوج بالحض على الانسانية والحث على الحفاظ على الطبيعة الأم
Profile Image for Chris Friend.
354 reviews15 followers
November 7, 2007
I was impressed by how much I enjoyed this one. I've not read any Sagan before, so I didn't know what to expect, but he's one of those brilliant scientists who understands how to clearly explain things to laypeople. His story (I use the term though it reads more like a collection of journal entries or brief reports) covers wide-ranging topics about the implications and necessity of space travel, posing questions frequently, answering them occasionally, and leading inexorably to a single conclusion: the human species must press outward into space.

Though not nearly as reactionary or thrill-seeking as a recent string of fiction films dealing with space flight (specifically, "Mission to Mars" and "Armageddon" come to mind while reading this book), a case is made for the urgent need and dangerous potentials of further human spaceflight. Appropriately balanced, however, Sagan's conclusions bring an optimism not often found in the writings of modern scientists focused on a global perspective.
Profile Image for Kurt.
563 reviews54 followers
April 12, 2011
Pale Blue Dot refers to the Earth as photographed from the Voyager craft at a point beyond the orbit of Neptune. Of course at that distance, the Earth is barely discernible - a very small, unremarkable, pale blue dot among a myriad of billions of other unremarkable points of light. Yet all our history, civilization, and culture that we have ever known has occurred on that dot.

Even though our ingrained geo-centric and ethno-centric biases cause us to become deflated and even depressed at the realization of the truth of our insignificance in the vast universe, this book is actually meant to inspire hope in all of us. Its subtitle, A Vision of the Human Future in Space, is what this book is all about. Carl Sagan was a big believer in space exploration, and he inspired millions of others to be also.

There are two reasons why I find it really difficult to have the optimism that Carl Sagan has. First, he talks of traveling the vast distances from star to star and eventually even to other galaxies. The reality of the limit of the speed of light and the extreme difficulty and power requirements to just achieve a fraction of that speed, just seem to be insurmountable obstacles. Second, the human race is obviously incapable of even responsibly managing its own affairs on its own home planet, and we are likewise extremely resistant to even subtle changes that require collective mandates (examples: American attempts to implement the metric system, dollar coins, or more fair and cost-saving health care reform, not to mention our inability to address far more pressing crises like population control and global warming).

Overall, I loved this book. It is the best of the five Carl Sagan books I have read yet, and I recommend it for everyone.
Profile Image for Alej.
12 reviews2 followers
January 5, 2014
I brought this book to work with me during the incredibly slow weeks of the holiday season. The book was repetitive, full of purple prose, and overly sentimental about "science" in a way that reminded me of my parochial school days. I had expected a good book explaining stuff about astronomy, science, whathaveyou, but it was mostly emotional pandering to atheists who think they're morally/intellectually superior to non-atheists. There was a whole lot of nothing for a couple hundred pages that can be summarised with: "The world and universe is super great and I don't understand why religion is a thing." Which, like, congrats, I s'pose. You could've just said it once instead of wanking over it for a million pages. It was kind of silly, which was pretty sad, seeing as I'm a huge fan of some of Sagan's other works and his show, "Cosmos."
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,173 reviews422 followers
August 5, 2010
Take Carl’s revered “Pale Blue Dot” speech, and multiply it by, say, the power of ten. That’s Pale Blue Dot. And the fact that it’s only by the power of ten... well, that’s how great that speech is.
Profile Image for John.
325 reviews8 followers
August 26, 2012
Pale Blue Dot was Carl's last book, written while he was battling cancer and published after his death. Sagan was responsible for having NASA rotate a Voyager spacecraft (as it was leaving the solar system) and photograph the planets, including of course the Earth, which was appeared as a pale blue dot.
I think Carl Sagan is a must read for any person who wants to be educated. Carl was a true Renascence Man, and his best gift ( of many) was teaching us about perspective. Perspective makes us wise, and humane. We need perspective and Sagan gives us that not just with science, but with history, and deep time and evolution, and, of course, space. Sagan gets us outside of out heads and out of our very limited little worlds which normally rotate around, us.
Pale Blue Dot is not Sagan's best book and if you haven't read Sagan I'd suggest you start with "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" or "Demon Haunted World," both of which are marvels.
This book takes the reader through a tour of our Solar System and then the last chapters are Carl's speculations on our future and his desire to see humans resume their nomadic wanderings and colonize Mars and the asteroids and venture into the Universe.
I miss Carl Sagan a lot and we should all miss his humour, insight, clarity and optimism.

Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,030 followers
March 6, 2019
I read this shortly after it came out back in the mid-90s & really liked it, so when I found an audio edition, I jumped on it. Glad I did! This edition was made partially with the original audio that Carl narrated, but there is progressively more narration by his wife filling in gaps left by time. Both were excellent & really have a lot of enthusiasm. They're slow, though. This is one of the few books where I went up to 2x rather than 1.5x, my normal listening speed.

There wasn't much new to me, but I was really impressed by his knowledge that's now over 2 decades out of date. He was really up on things, though. It's such a shame he died so young, only 62 back in 1996. He would really be thrilled with where the space program is today since it was at a nadir when he wrote this. It was obviously frustrating to him & yet he gave good reasons for it. He seemed to realize that it would turn around.

On the downside, he does tend to go on at times. Even I was mentally wandering at times, especially toward the end. Still, the main thing this book brings back is just how cool space is. Sagan could really make that clear. This is highly recommended to anyone who is just learning about space from mid teens & up.
Profile Image for هادی امینی.
Author 24 books82 followers
June 6, 2020
می‌تونست فوق‌العاده کتاب عالی و جذابی باشه، کما اینکه تا حد زیادی هم بود، ولی کاش ترجمه بهتری داشت و کمی هم به روز تر بود.
Profile Image for Kirti Upreti.
199 reviews99 followers
July 19, 2020
The greatest experience you get by reading a book is to plunge into the mind of the author. When you understand someone so closely, you tend to develop a strong connection with them.

The authors that I've read - I find some of them closer to my heart than most of the people I've known in my life. They are always there by my side - guiding me, opening my mind and giving me strength. Carl Sagan is one of those few, now.
Profile Image for Naomi.
211 reviews
September 3, 2012
This book was very well written by an excellent physicist. It was one of those books that really makes you consider the world around you and the massive scale of the Universe.
The first chapter contemplated the arrogance and self-centred nature of humans, and presented the notion that humans are exceedingly small compared to the vast Universe. For the first time I really comprehended how tiny our species are. It is quite an obvious concept that gets lost in everyday worries, fears and troubles. Now everytime I am stressed or anxious I think of how insignificant it is compared to the world, compared to the Universe, and perhaps how some far-off civilisation would view our world and its problems.
Another thing the book did was allowed the reader to take an objective perspective of the Earth, for example, it made me realise how irrelevant political and social problems such as war and money are; the Universe is so much bigger, so much more significant than the miniscule conflicts that we create here on Earth. But it also made me realise the grandeur of the human race: how much we have accomplished, how much we still don't know, how far we're willing to go to find answers to scientific problems.
The book also touched on the Solar System and the many diverse environments close to our planet, which was well explained. It was amusing to see that little information was available regarding what Titan is like since the probe would reach there in 2004 (the book was written in 1995)! I had to seek reference in another book to find the answers and alleviate my curiosity about this strange moon. However, the positive to this lack of information is that it elucidated the fact that science is always growing; new phenomena are constantly being discovered so that books written almost 20 years ago are immediately out of date. Carl Sagan also discussed the prospect of sending robots to Mars, which again made me laugh given Curiosity's recent successful landing.
As the book went on, I found that it lost momentum. The last 8 or so chapters were quite repetitive and tedious; Sagan was mainly speculating about future possibilities instead of introducing new facts. Nevertheless, I found it quite interesting to read about potential trips to other galaxies, or terra-forming of Mars and asteroids - it would make for an excellent science fiction novel!
The last chapter recapitulated much of the whole book so that I was left feeling that sense of awe and wonder at the majestic of the Universe and of humanity's scientific advancement.
In conclusion, this was a fantastic book that really makes the reader contemplate the vastness of the Universe, feel patriotic towards Earth and want to make exploration of the Universe a possibility.
Profile Image for S.Baqer Al-Meshqab.
328 reviews102 followers
January 22, 2016
The entire Earth is but a point, and the place of our own habitation but a minute corner of it.

The is my first packed-with-information book, ever. One might think that it is a pure scientific text which goes on and on about facts and numbers and laws and whatsoever that can drag the soul out of you - not denying that it isn't - but seriously, look at the title - A Pale Blue Dot - isn't poetic enough? As the writer suggests "Knowing how things work doesn't make them less romantic". Of course, the style of writing matters, and this book is so well-written that will make your mind digesting its contents, gladly and with ease, most of the time anyway.

Are you interested in understanding the location of Earth, in the sea of space and on the timeline of creation? Are you interested in the objects of the darkness; the emptiness and how they affect and be affected by your blue world? Do you want to know the possibilities of new realms, new lives, at different corners of the solar system? Do you want to see the beauty of Venus, Mars, Titan or Uranus? Do you want to know how far we humans have gone, and how further we can even go? THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU.

"There is a new world next door. And we know how to get there."

Carl Sagan not only highlights details of the universe and the interrelations of its floating bodies. He raises a number of good questions and outlines the consequences of each course of action humanity will take. Is it important to explore outer space? Is it possible to terraform Mars or the moons of the Jovian Planets? "Can we, who have made such a mess of this world, be trusted with others?". You want answers. What is also more interesting, because this book was published more than a decade a half ago, some unanswered questions have already seen the light today. You are encouraged to learn more and more. It is exactly like excitedly holding a negative film, wanting to see those images with their real colors, only to realize later, that those images are already printed and stored somewhere in your room! you found your sequel of the story, even before it ends.

I admit, some ideas got me lost, others were to far-fetched to grasp. Perhaps, because I am new to this kind of books. or perhaps, it is not a book you read only once. It is a mixture of Science and Poetry; "They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will love it no less for its obscurity and fragility."
Profile Image for Христо Блажев.
2,206 reviews1,422 followers
November 8, 2013
Бледа синя точица – всичко, което имаме и което трябва обезателно да напуснем: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/b...

Без напускане на планетата, цивилизацията ни е обречена. Сейгън е посв��тил цяла глава на космическото насилие, което съпътства Слънчевата система от създаването й (пореден добър довод срещу креационизма) и на който неминуемо Земята ще се окаже жертва рано или късно. Няма връщане назад към природата, няма отказ от технологиите – рано или късно голям астериод ще нацели планетата ни: само и единствено технологичното развитие и разселване по другите небесни тела може да осигури оцеляването на вида ни. А това върви ръка за ръка с осъзнаване на човечеството, повишаване на образоваността му, на рационалността му, на умението да се мисли критично и основателно.

Издателство "Изток-Запад"
Profile Image for Shruti Badole.
50 reviews15 followers
June 6, 2017
Pale Blue Dot: literally one of the best books I have read.

You might think I am enlisting the book in that category because I am an Astrophysics student. I won’t deny that I might be ‘biased’ that way, but in all honesty, I feel that this is one book that every person should give a read. Having watched and thoroughly enjoyed the Cosmos series by Carl Sagan, I couldn’t wait to read his books (although, I did wait. I watched that series more than three years ago!). Insightful, inspiring and refreshing. Was the Pale Blue Dot just what I had expected? No, it was much more.

This is one of the richest books I have read, in terms of content, style and language. Sagan has the ability to capture the imagination of even those people who are least interested in space science. His words are arresting, his style intelligent (what else could you expect from a world-renowned astrophysicist and science communicator?). This beautiful excerpt from the book, known to probably every science enthusiast, is just an example.

"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." (Follow the link https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2300... for the full quote. It’s breathtaking.)

In the 380+ pages-long journey that Sagan takes us, he talks about a variety of things. The central theme of the book is the human race: our past, present and future in the cosmic arena. He talks about our ‘wandering’ ancestors, the times of Copernicus and Galileo when the geocentric theory was popular, the various advances humankind has made in technology and space science, and what the future is expected to hold for us. He also addresses a point that would concern any ethical person: the use and misuse of science and technology, and its repercussions. Is it right to spend billions of taxpayer money on space research that does not guarantee immediate tangible positive outcomes? Is space travel really important? Are we, as humans, capable of preserving this pale blue dot we call our home? Are we prudent enough to settle on other worlds, not destroy them and form another civilization off-Earth? Questions of human race, questions of science, and answers to them. This is what Sagan talks about.

Needless to say, Sagan was a brilliant astrophysicist and a visionary. He was aware of the follies and complexities of human race, our incredible potential to achieve things unimagined before and also our great capability to destroy ourselves. As a budding astrophysicist and an advocate of science, I think everyone needs to hear what Sagan has to say. I greatly recommend the Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.
Profile Image for Shafaet Ashraf.
Author 1 book108 followers
September 7, 2014
আকাশের তারা দেখা আমার খুব প্রিয় একটা কাজ। আমার দেহের পরমাণুগুলো কোন তারায় তৈরি হয়েছে এটা চিন্তা করতেই দারুণ লাগে। মহাকাশ নিয়ে ডকুমেন্টারী, বই পেলেও ছাড়িনা। আর বইটা যদি কার্ল স্যাগানের লেখা হয় তখন সেটা অন্য লেভেলে চলে যায়। কার্ল স্যাগান মনে করতেন মানবজাতিকে টিকে থাকতে হলে তারায় তারায় ছড়িয়ে যাওয়া ছাড়া কোনো উপায় নেই, মূলত সেটা নিয়েই এই বই। কার্ল স্যাগান এমন একজন লেখক যার ননফিকশন বই যেকোন সেরা শ্বাসরুদ্ধকর ফিকশনের মত টেনে ধরে রাখতে পারে, তবে ফিকশনের মত দ্রুত পড়ে ফেলা যায় না, একটা একটা লাইন অনেক্ষণ ধরে উপভোগ করতে হয়।

ভবিষ্যতের মানুষ কেমন হবে? পৃথিবীর ভবিষ্যত কি? পৃথিবীতে এখনো মানুষ না খেয়ে মরে, সেই অবস্থায় মহাকাশ গবেষণায়, মঙ্গল গ্রহে মানুষ পাঠায় কোটি কোটি ডলার খরচ করা কি যৌক্তিক? এগুলো নিয়ে এই বইতে আলোচনা করা হয়েছে, স্যাগান দেখিয়েছেন মহাকাশ গবেষণা ছাড়া মানুষের টিকে থাকা অসম্ভব। ।ন্য গ্রহ নিয়ে জানতে গিয়ে আমরা পৃথিবীকে নিয়ে অনেক কিছু জেনেছি যেটা আগে জানতাম না। তার একটা উদাহরণ হলো CFC গ্যাস যে ওজোন স্তরের ক্ষতি করে সেটা মানুষ জানতে পেরেছে ভেনাস গ্রহের বায়ুমন্ডল নিয়ে গবেষণা করতে গিয়ে, এটা জানতে না পারলে আমরা এতদিনে আরো বেশি বেশি CFC ব্যবহার করে ওজন স্তরের আরো ১২টা বাজায় ফেলতাম।

শেষ কথা, স্যাগানের বই যে পড়ল না সে জীবনে অনেক কিছু মিস করল!
Profile Image for muthuvel.
257 reviews156 followers
May 27, 2020
"Despite all our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness."

Carl Sagan changed my life the way i used to think a few years ago. I don't think no one can ever change that attitude unless taking our perception beyond the cosmic level. Maybe Multiversal and I know for sure that even that person must be inspired from Sagan.

The book has some of the best gem of Sagan. So many excerpts left me overflowing with tears and joys of being able to witness and face such frontier.

"We who cannot even put our planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatred, are we to venture out into space?"

At Some passages, i felt it's more than a book of knowledge. It's a book of spirituality where realising our profound duties and connectedness felt overwhelmingly humane. Getting to know about Carl Sagan is the sweetest thing that had ever happened in my life till now.

Words he says has more wisdom than knowledge, blending the Science with Philosophy and maybr that's why i love Astronomy for which they can be easily related to philosophy.
Profile Image for Laura.
33 reviews16 followers
July 11, 2017
Very well-written book about the history of space travelling/exploration and its possible future.

When I started reading it, I felt like I was reading poetry. Sagan had a really compelling, engaging and precious way of writing. It's something that definitely makes the reading experience much more attractive and delighting. I am not a huge fan of the topic, but after reading this, I can't deny that is utterly interesting.

The book is clearly out of date, but I like the undertone that it has. Further, it's not totally focused on space travelling itself, but also on the political/ethical/social issues behind it. It's also interesting how he questions the reasons for extraterrestrial exploration, are those reasons good enough that matter risking people's lives/institution's prestige/state money? he offers really good reasons in favor of it, but I feel it's a question that is still up in the air.
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