Pale Blue Dot: a Vision of the Human Future in Space Paperback – 1 Jan 1997
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From the Inside Flap
"FASCINATING . . . MEMORABLE . . . REVEALING . . . PERHAPS THE BEST OF CARL SAGAN'S BOOKS."
--The Washington Post Book World (front page review)
In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.
Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier--space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.
"TAKES READERS FAR BEYOND Cosmos . . . Sagan sees humanity's future in the stars."
About the Author
Carl Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking and Voyager missions to the planets and briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon. He helped solve many mysteries in planetary science from the high temperature of Venus to the seasonal changes on Mars. For his unique contributions, he was awarded the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievment and for Distinguished Public Service (twice), as well as the Tsiolkovsky Medal of the Soviet Cosmonautics Federation, the John F. Kennedy Award of the American Astronautical Society and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Space Education.
Carl Sagan (19341996) is the Pulitzer Prizewinning author of "Cosmos," the bestselling science book ever published in the English language, and "Contact," which was the basis of a major motion picture.
Ann Druyan is Carl Sagans widow and long time collaborator.
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Top Customer Reviews
Pale Blue Dot is a journey in time and space. Beginning with the assertion that we're natural wanderers, being the only species to settle across our world, it continues with a plea to extend further our exploration of space. The early chapters challenge restrictions on our desire to explore and learn. Sagan demonstrates how foolish minds have restrained our quest for knowledge of the cosmos. He then takes us on a tour of the solar system, exhibiting the wonders revealed by the fleet of robot probes. He reminds us of the forces the cosmos can unleash, sometimes right in our neighbourhood. Like many of the rest of us, Sagan was awed by the collision of a comet with the Jovian gas giant. It was a hint of what might lay in store for us if we fail to understand the universe better than we do now. The space probes also returned images of worlds invalidating existing theories of planetary formation. If our own neighbours can present such bizarre structures, what kinds of worlds ride beyond our ken, circling suns we can barely imagine? What Sagan can't portray, he can conjecture. With his firm working scientist's foundation, Sagan's speculations command respectful attention.
This book must be shelved alongside Richard Dawkins THE SELFISH GENE and THE BLIND WATCHMAKER.Read more ›
Given Sagan's prodigious output over an all too brief life, recycled material from earlier work is to be expected and the book opens with one of his recurrent themes, revisiting the idea that science continues to diminish humanity's over-inflated sense of importance and plots our species' ignominious ("great" ch.3 pp.20-37) demotion from cosmic "purpose" to universal bit part. Sagan also covers other favourite topics, including global warming and weapons of mass destruction, synthesising these themes into a comprehensive argument that humanity has reached a turning point in its evolution with the ability for self-destruction without, perhaps, the wisdom to prevent it. However, whilst some of the early content may feel familiar, this is not a simple rehashing of old arguments: it is a grand vision of humanity's future and, with his characteristic clarity and restraint, Sagan makes a powerful argument that our innate curiosity will eventually drive us to the stars.
For obvious reasons, the space exploration review appears a little dated but Sagan's intimate involvement with much of America's attempts to explore our solar system and unique ability to collaborate with Soviet scientists makes it a fascinating and insightful read nonetheless.Read more ›
Carl Sagan was a superb thinker and communicate. I could not recommend you reading this book enough.
Down side: Very sticky glue-sticker on the back...GRRRR.
Can't say enough positive things about this book.
Carl Sagan truly put ourselves into scale in his magnificient book. The title says it all.
The image of us inhabiting this little pale blue dot seen from voyager is striking and in some sense vertiginous. A reminder of our place in the universe.
To be read by anybody interested in the future of humanity and its place in the universe.
It's wonderful to read about these missions, and I enjoyed looking up some of his unanswered questions on the internet to see which had been answered, although I found it very sad that he died before some missions he writes about, such as Cassini-Huygens, came to fruition.
The book also has a rather spiritual tone. The "pale blue dot" of which the book is named after is a picture of our earth taken from the outskirts of the solar system by the voyager missions. Sagan tells us that this is no distance at all in the scale of universe, and yet from here our planet is barely visible. Sagan elegantly uses this picture to illustrate humanities real place in the universe, putting into perspective our absurd delusions of grandeur and pointless wars. Such revelations may at first seem depressing but Sagan shows us that rather then feel isolated and unimportant we should instead feel embraced and connected to the majesty of cosmos.
Towards end of the book Carl Sagan writes of frailty of our planet. His words are so heart felt and beautiful. You will be inspired and hopefully moved to turn some lights off!
The really great thing about Sagan is he never comes across as arrogant nether do his views ever seek to belittle the less scientifically educated, he was a wonderful ambassador for science and I recommend this book to everyone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book looks like a brand new one!! Amazing price for great value, I recommend it to everyone.Published 2 months ago by Marta
One of the greatest books ever written, great to read as Carl would have wanted - sitting gently will a sense of wonder and a doob. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ms. P. Roberts
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK, BUY AND READ IT TO EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS. However, the supplier actually sent me a used copy, which is full of someones margin notes; they also clearly loved... Read morePublished 8 months ago by reedwar
Wonderful book. So much calm wisdom distilled in its pages.Published 9 months ago by Ponderer_of_the_Infinite_Wastes
Buyers beware - the 'library binding' edition of this book that I purchased has no photos/illustrations. Read morePublished 11 months ago by x1
Haven't had time to read unfortunately - hence can only give 4 stars for good price and good deliveryPublished 16 months ago by Sean
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