By Ray Jayawardhana
On Valentine’s Day of 1990, following fly-bys of Jupiter and Saturn and on its way out of the solar system, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time at the planet whence it was launched. The picture it captured of the Earth as a blurry dot hovering in the dark takes on a new poignancy this month — three decades since the image transferred back to Earth.
That’s because a lot has changed even since February, when NASA released a sharper, reprocessed version to mark the 30th anniversary of the image. Today, perhaps more than ever, the sparse visual serves as a stark, if not painful, reminder of humanity’s vulnerability and interdependence as we wrestle with the havoc wreaked by a pandemic.
To be sure, that fuzzy speck, registered on a single pixel, barely discernible amid streaks of light resulting from internal reflections of the spacecraft’s camera, doesn’t exactly dazzle our eyes.
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