Three decades ago, the cameras aboard the Voyager 1 space probe were shut down forever, but one last image was recorded before the event. That image is known as the Pale Blue Dot, showing the Earth as a distant spot of blue on a background of the endless void. It is a powerful image that reinforces the feeling of being alone in the universe (at least for now).
To commemorate the event, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a revamped version of the image, which remains as impressive as it was in the past. As in the case of the original image, Earth remains a distant dot with no other object being visible in the frame.
JPL experts harnessed the power of advanced software to process the original image captured by the Narrow-Angle Camera present on the Voyager One. The use of filters offered the ability to rebalance colors and reveal more interesting details that may have been blocked by stray rays of sunlight. Earth is so small within the image that the space occupied by it is around 0.12 of a pixel.
The new version of the ‘Pale Blue Dot’
During its flight, Voyager 1 captured several images of the planets in our solar system. This objective was not a part of the original mission schedule but the idea proposed by the renowned astronomer Carl Sagan was appreciated by the agency.
The pictures recorded by Voyager One have been printed and displayed at the JPL Theodore von Kármán Auditorium for a long time. It is interesting that the image in which Earth appears had to be replaced several times throughout the decades as visitors like to touch it, impressed by how small our planet appears to be in comparison to the size of space.
The refreshed version of the image may continue to be a powerful source of motivation for many generations, out of which future astronauts may come.