PALE BLUE DOT: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

This logical successor to Cosmos (1980) offers the characteristic Sagan blueprint for humankind's long-term vitality. In 1990, while speeding out of the solar system, the Voyager 1 spacecraft snapped photographs of the planets. From a distance of 3.7 billion miles, the Earth appears as a ``pale blue dot''—a metaphor Sagan (Astronomy and Space Sciences/Cornell Univ.) employs to underscore the ... Read full review

User reviews

User Review - Flag as inappropriate


User Review - Flag as inappropriate

An excellent book detailing our humble status among the vastness of the cosmos. Sagan writes about everything from the false philosophies of humans or the Earth being the most important entities in existence, to the detailed plans required to send robots and/or people to any place in the solar system.
Absolutely perspective changing. Anyone even vaguely interested in space could gain something from this. Even those uninterested with the complexities of the heavens will benefit from the philosophical elements of how we are the only life, and habitable place for life, we've ever known and how those should be cherished and protected.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I miss Carl Sagan. I really do.
There are no shrotage of brilliant scientists out there, imaginative and innovative people who are dedicated to the advancement of science and the betterment of the
human race.
The difference between Sagan and the rest of them is that he was able to make it beautiful. When he talked, you could feel his excitement, his joy at knowing that there was a wonderful universe out there, waiting for us to discover it. In his most famous work, Cosmos, he introduced the wonders of science to people who had never thought about it before.
Through his eyes, the cold, vast emptiness of space was a limitless field of discovery, an infinite storehouse of wonders for us to find.
In this book, he tries to chart the future of space travel for humankind. He talks about the possibilities of moving to Mars, taking up homes in the asteroid belt, making our way through the solar system and outward. He believes that we have within us the potential to spread throughout the galaxy, given the will and the fortitude to do it. He marvels at the technological fortitude of the Voyager probes and the Apollo missions, and he sorrows at our timidity in no longer stepping ouside our own orbit.
He's not a - forgive the pun - starry-eyed optimist. He's very well aware of the history of the human race, our potential for self-destruction and our congenital short-sightedness. The same technology that would allow us to terraform is also destroying our own planet. The methods we could use to safeguard our world against metor impacts could also turn those meteors against ourselves. A world as splintered and chaotic as ours may not be ready to take those next steps out into the greater Cosmos. We may even obliterate ourselves before we have the chance to find out.
But one way or the other, he says, we have to go. The impulse for exploration is hard-wired into our DNA, and if we all stay on this one world, our chances for survival as a species are next to none.
Sagan was a fantastic scientist, and more than that, he was an excellent communicator. He knew how to cut through the apparant soullessness of science and bring wonder to the hearts and minds of ordinary people. And, frankly, I think we need that right now. There's such a.... resistance to science these days, a fear of the universe, and people are starting to backslide to irrationality.
If there's someone out there like that, we need that person desperately right now. So, you know, speak up.

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

All reviews - 62
5 stars - 20
4 stars - 19
3 stars - 16
1 star - 1

All reviews - 62

All reviews - 62
Kirkus - 1