Coloradans react to the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ for Earth Day 2022

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The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of Earth taken Feb. 14, 1990, by NASA’s Voyager 1 at a distance of 3.7 billion miles (6 billion kilometers) from the Sun.

Today is Earth Day. It was founded by activists in the '70s to push for environmental protection but it's now embraced by conservationists, artists, politicians, scientists — and promoted by corporate brands.

CPR's climate team wanted to mark Earth Day with something different, a reminder of our humanity — and the fragility of our home planet. 

The idea dates back to 1990 when the Voyager 1 spacecraft entered the outer reaches of our solar system. From nearly 4 billion miles away, NASA engineers turned the space probe around so it could snap a photo of the Earth.

The planet was nothing more than a speck of dust suspended in a sunbeam by then. 

The resulting image inspired astronomer Carl Sagan to write a passage in his book, “Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.”

To mark Earth Day, CPR reporters Dan Boyce, Sam Brasch, Stina Sieg and Miguel Otárola asked people from across Colorado to look at the same photo, read the passage and reflect on its meaning in 2022.

Coloradans react to the ‘Pale Blue Dot’ for Earth Day 2022
CPR News asked people from across Colorado to look at an image of Earth taken by the Voyager I space probe and read Carl Sagan's famous passage about the photo.

Here are the voices and thoughts of Lehua La'a from Clifton, Awab Elmahi and Elle Thomas, students at DSST Montview Middle and High School in Denver; Robin Hinson, Jay Trelease and Sienna Emuobor in Colorado Springs and Gustavo Gutierrez at the Pueblo Academy of the Arts.