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Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

"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... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Indisputably, a one of a kind book!

Carl Sagan could write a million words, and i’d read every single word written. An incredible figure in the history of Science. No other man could demonstrate our insignficance, yet also demonstrate our SIGNFICANCE on this Planet called Earth. Every human being should read this book once in their lifetime but the reality is, only a few will live to know the words written by Carl Sagan. An inevitable truth, but be sure to be one of the few who live knowing of those words & wisdom. 100% recommend!

Ordered hard cover copy but received paperback instead

Book is correct but not hardcover like I ordered

Carl Sagan blows you away with this book

Carl Sagan was a gift to mankind. A gift we do not deserve. This is amazing book on our accomplishments in science and what humanity can accomplish in the future. If you are a fan of Sagan then you must read this book.

It's good edition but pages keep falling apart

It's good edition with nice illustrations and good paper quality. But the moment I started flipping pages different portions of book kept coming off from binding.

You live here!

As these pages attest, there are a number of fine writers out there providing us non-scientists with insights on nature's mysteries. None, however, quite reached the breadth of view or intensity of feeling imparted by Carl Sagan. His writings explained topics ranging from quantum particles to the extent of the cosmos. Along the way, he addressed evolution, space engineering and countless other facets of science and technology. Even fiction wasn't beyond his grasp.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. Together, these three fine works confront the traditional Western view of a universe and the life in it resulting from a Designer. From Dawkins' biological analysis to Sagan's cosmological view, this obstructionist outlook is here rendered groundless. More people must read Pale Blue Dot to gain an idea of who we are and where we stand in the vastness of a nearly limitless universe. Please read this book and convey its ideas to others. There is much to be gained from its imparted wisdom.

Earth is so provincial...

He never says it. But it's a sequel, par excellence, to the classic _Cosmos_. Sequels are usually disappointing. This is one of those rare cases where the sequel is better than the original. I had read this book in hardcover and ended up buying my own paperback copy while in Ithaca (Sagan's hometown) because I had nothing to read and a long ride back home. I'm a fan of Sagan - can't help it - because even though he's a brilliant scientist, he somehow manages to be a great writer as well. This book is no exception. Sagan's basic idea is that the destiny of humanity is to expand out to the stars. And even though this idea reeks with echoes of Manifest Destiny, I have to agree. In Manifest Destiny, there were Indians - here, no intelligent life that we know of. And if there is something out there, wouldn't we want to know about it? Like so many great works of popular science, Sagan starts out by tracing the changes in our views of the world, from our conceit that we were the center of the Universe to the backwater position that we're in today. Sagan's idea of generalized chauvinisms comes up - first in place (the obvious), then in time (if there was other intelligent life, it's not around any more), and, if I recall correctly, in chemical basis (life must be made out of carbon). He refutes all these ideas - and why not? Who said that silicon can't conquer the universe? My personal favorite part of the book is Chapter 5, "Is There Intelligent Life On Earth?" Sagan asks us to "[imagine yourself as] an alien explorer entering the Solar system after a long journey through the blackness of interstellar space". As we examine the Earth at finer and finer resolution, what do we see? I won't tell you - it's a bit unexpected - but the answer will surprise you. Who said scientists can't be humorous? A large portion of the book surveys the prospects of life elsewhere in the Solar System - Venus, Mars, Io, and Titan (but, surprisingly, not Europa) figure prominently. (Sagan did research on Titan tholins, precursors to organic molecules found on Titan.) It's interesting - maybe a bit out of place in Sagan's overall idea, but who cares? So why don't we leave Earth? Why are we still stuck on this pale blue dot? The politicians, says Sagan. They don't see far enough into the future - all they care about is their own re-election. And it's even too far for normal humans to see, sometimes. But it's worth it - evolution demands that we adapt. Near the end, we find this passage: "It will not be we who reach Alpha Centauri and the other nearby stars. It will be a species very much like us, but with more of our strengths and fewer of our weaknesses, a species returned to circumstances more like those for which it was originally evolved, more confident, farseeing, capable, and prudent - the sorts of beings we would want to represent us in a Universe that, for all we know, is filled with species much older, much mo
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