Pop Pop Epistle #139 – About Valentine’s Day and The Pale Blue Dot

Dear Grandkids,

Yes, today is indeed Valentine’s Day. It is a day to declare or re-declare our love for one another – and specifically for couples to express their love for each other. Hence, there are a dozen roses sitting on our table and I am fixing a romantic steak supper for Nona and I tonight. Yes, even at 62 years old we can still be romantic.

But I am sure that you are curious what the “pale blue dot” is in the title of this epistle and what it has to do with Valentine’s Day. Well I came across this tidbit of history that I found very interesting. Perhaps you will too.

Way back in September of 1977 NASA launched a space probe that was named Voyager 1. Its intended purpose was to study our solar system. It took about 1.5 years (March, 1979) for it to get to Jupiter and to begin transmitting data and photos. It took another 1.5 years (November 1980) for it to get to Saturn. Now here is what I was astounded by: The gaps between the outer planets are so vast that it was another 10 years before it passed by Neptune and arrived at the spot where it was to take a series of images of the planets, known as the “Family Portrait” of our solar system. And on February 14, 1990 (22+ years after it was launched, Voyager 1 transmitted a picture back of earth – a picture that became known as the “Pale Blue Dot.”

Earth appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space. The photo was taken from 3.7 billion miles away.

Now there are a couple of things that I find quite amazing. 1) The technology to do this was developed back in the 1970’s. 2) The camera that took the picture was 23 years old and still working like it was brand new. 3) The photo was somehow sent to earth from 3.7 BILLION miles away.

And here are a couple of other things that I find even more amazing:

1) “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

2) “When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)

3) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)

This Pale Blue Dot that we call home is unique among all the other dots out there in space. And you are unique among all the other inhabitants of this Pale Blue Dot. As you celebrate Valentine’s Day, never forget that you have been created for the purposes of a God that delights greatly in you and…

Never ever forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

P.S. – Voyager 1 is still traveling out in interstellar space and will continue to transmit data until around 2025 when it will not have enough electrical power to continue to do so.

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