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Pale Blue Dot
     

Pale Blue Dot

4.7 15
by Carl Sagan
 

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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sagan traces our exploration of space and suggests that our very survival may depend on the wise use of other worlds. This stirring book reveals how scientific discovery has altered our perception of who we are and where we stand, and challenges us to weigh what we will do with that knowledge. Photos, many in color.

Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Carl Sagan traces our exploration of space and suggests that our very survival may depend on the wise use of other worlds. This stirring book reveals how scientific discovery has altered our perception of who we are and where we stand, and challenges us to weigh what we will do with that knowledge. Photos, many in color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a tour of our solar system, galaxy and beyond, Cornell astronomer Sagan meshes a history of astronomical discovery, a cogent brief for space exploration and an overview of life-from its origins in the oceans to humanity's first emergence to a projected future where humans ``terraform'' and settle other planets and asteroids, Earth having long been swallowed by the sun. Maintaining that such relocation is inevitable, the author further argues that planetary science is of practical utility, fostering an interdisciplinary approach to looming environmental catastrophes such as ``nuclear winter'' (lethal cooling of Earth after a nuclear war, a widely accepted prediction first calculated by Sagan in 1982). His exploration of our place in the universe is illustrated with photographs, relief maps and paintings, including high-resolution images made by Voyager 1 and 2, as well as photos taken by the Galileo spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope and satellites orbiting Earth, which show our planet as a pale blue dot. A worthy sequel to Sagan's Cosmos. Author tour. (Dec.)
Donna Seaman
Sagan's great appeal as a popular-science writer, beyond his prodigious knowledge, is his optimism and sense of wonder. A visualizer and a visionary, he fires our imagination and turns science into high drama. After writing about our origins in "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" (1992), Sagan turns his attention to outer space and takes up where "Cosmos" left off 14 years ago. An astonishing amount of information was amassed during that productive era, and Sagan, of course, is up on all of it. A passionate and eloquent advocate of space exploration, he believes that the urge to wander, and the need for a frontier, is intrinsic to our nature, and that this trait is linked to our survival as a species. Throughout this beautifully illustrated, revelatory, and compelling volume, Sagan returns again and again to our need for journeys and quests as well as our unending curiosity about our place in the universe. Such philosophical musings are interwoven with precise and enthusiastic accounts of the triumphs of interplanetary exploration, from the "Apollo" moon landings to the spectacular findings of robotic missions, especially the "Voyager" spacecraft. Sagan describes one exciting discovery after another regarding the four giants--Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune--and their many moons, mysterious and exquisite rings, and volatile atmospheres. He argues, convincingly, that planetary exploration is of immense value. It not only teaches us about our celestial neighbors, but helps us understand and protect Earth. Yes, we have seemingly insurmountable problems on this pale blue dot, but we have always reached for the stars, and we mustn't stop now.
Booknews
Sagan (astronomy, Cornell U.) continues the scientific voyage begun in his bestseller, Cosmos, suggesting that our survival depends on the exploration and settlement of other worlds, and advocating spending "billions and billions" on ditching this lovely planet. He discusses the Voyager and other space expeditions, characteristics of galaxies, and conditions on other planets. Illustrated by color photos and paintings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679438410
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/08/1994
Pages:
429
Product dimensions:
7.76(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.08(d)

Meet the Author

Carl Sagan served as 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, Voyager, and Galileo spacecraft expeditions, for which he received the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service.
 
His Emmy- and Peabody–winning television series, Cosmos, became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The accompanying book, also called Cosmos, is one of the bestselling science books ever published in the English language. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize, the Oersted Medal, and many other awards—including twenty honorary degrees from American colleges and universities—for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science . . . his gifts to mankind were infinite." Dr. Sagan died on December 20, 1996.

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Pale Blue Dot 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wish I could find the words to explain why this is the best book I have ever read but I am not good at words. This books explains who we are where we are and were we are going. Its like a bible to me. This book gives me hope about the future of Mankind.
AirScottDenning More than 1 year ago
This is one of Carl Sagan's last books, and offers a thoughtful consideration of our motives and priorities in space science and human space exploration. Sagan considers our thirst for knowledge and inspiration (as only he could!), the politics and budget implications of the space program, and the tension between robotic space probes and human space flight in NASA. The book is well argued and Sagan speaks personally from a long career in planetary science as well as his second career as the premiere explainer of astronomy. The book is becoming quite dated by 21st Century planetary science: Mars rovers, Cassini at Saturn, and especially the hundreds of exoplanets found by Kepler. Neither his most inspiring nor his most political book, but it's a good read and extremely relevant to readers interested in the "science vs exploration" debate at NASA.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good. Sagan was on of the greatest minds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This, along with Cosmos, is my favorite work by Sagan so far. Despite learning the basics of the universe in grade school I have not really thought about the world in the cosmic sense since. Sagan's gift of writing about hard topics such as this in a way that anyone could understand is amazing to me. For a student who was slightly average in such topics in school, I feel that only now through Sagan am I really getting the knowledge to understand science. I would recommend this book to any one of any age, it may help you as it did me to comprehend the mysteries of the universe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a really good book. Carl reviews from our position in the universe until the human exploration and the voyager that is found traveling in the universe... you will love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sagan is in his usual fantastic form here. He presents all his science in a clear and understandable form that any reader can grasp even without being scientifically oriented. The illustrations are just as wonderful as the text, but the real standout are the photos of six of the nine planets of our Solar System and the Sun taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 almost ten years and billions of miles from Earth. This book was actually better than his science fiction novel 'Contact'. 'Pale Blue Dot' should be required science reading in our Jr. High, High School and College Institutions.
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????????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh really? Thats so weird. Wait! If your dad doesnt allow you with males...isnt he a male? She gets quiet and thoughtful