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domingo, 6 de março de 2011

Um pálido ponto azul: a Terra vista de 6 bilhões de quilômetros de distância!

1990 não é só lembrado pela invasão do Kwait pelo Iraque. No início daquele ano, em 14 de fevereiro, a sonda Voyager 1 da NASA voltou a lente de sua câmara na direção da Terra. Isso ocorreu a pedido do astrônomo Carl Sagan (1934-1996), inspirado na famosa fotografia feita pela Apollo 8 (aquela em que a Terra aparece "nascendo" no horizonte lunar").

A Voyager 1 estava a 6,4 BILHÕES de quilômetros e o resultado é a fotografia que ficou conhecida como o pálido ponto azul (pale blue dot) ...

Sim, o nosso planeta é aquele pontinho ali em destaque, suspenso num raio de Sol refletido pela nave ... faz pensar, não é?!

Em 13 de outubro de 1994, poucos anos antes de morrer, Sagan (para quem ainda não se lembra é aquele apresentador da série Cosmos) fez uma palestra na Universidade de Cornell, onde comentou, olhando para a foto: "all of human history has happened on that tiny pixel, which is our only home".

Carl Edward Sagan (sabiam que tinha um Edward ai? Pois é ;-) também escreveu um livro com o mesmo nome da foto: Um pálido ponto azul, do qual se extrai a seguinte reflexão:

"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. 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.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. 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".

Fonte: Wikipedia e José Lourenço Parreira

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