Pale Blue Dot: Wanderers

Pale Blue Dot: Wanderers

2007, Science  -   64 Comments
Ratings: 9.12/10 from 113 users.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph, they can become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on this scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatred. Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in this universe are challenged by this point of pale light.

As the ancient myth makers knew, we're children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenor on this planet, we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage - propensities for aggressions and ritual, submissions to leaders, hostility to outsiders - all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children, a desire to learn from history and experience, and a great, soaring, passionate intelligence - the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity.

Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of this small planet earth. But up there in the cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits. National boundaries are not evident when we view the earth from space. Fanatic ethnic or religious or national identifications are little difficult to support when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the vast citadel of the stars.

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Paula Lowery
3 years ago

There is no one that has a more engaging way of narrating.....Carl Sagan is, imo, no question..the very best! If I were to choose someone to act as Earth's Ambassador if we do make 'First Contact' in my lifetime, it would be, hands down, Mr. Carl Sagan. He would probably tell them, "What took you guys so long; we have known you were here since 1948! ;-)

Generic smith
6 years ago

Well made doc pointing out humanities provincialism and the fact there is no planet hospitable to homo sapiens to resettle/escape to in the foreseeable future.

mke m
6 years ago

The ones who think moon shot was hoax are afflicted with the same malady which disturbs supremists, jihadists, etc, etc.
A big ego coupled with a sense of low self esteem.
They are full of fear.
Fear of being found to not be the blustering self assured person they pretend to be.
Dishonest, boastful, and feeling small inside, afraid to be found out.

8 years ago

Great flick. It gets to the point.

Casey Brummitt
9 years ago

One of my favorite people of all time!Awesome

11 years ago

Sagan may sound like Kermit the Frog. But, that froggy spoke Epic and was Epic. R.I.P. Carl

11 years ago

Its nice to watch a doc that grounds and reminds me. Mr Sagan was/is truly an inspired human being. My hats off to all those who were involved in this doc.

11 years ago

The way he speaks is like educational poetry very well presented doc.

thank you Carl

11 years ago

next time you have a problem.. take a look at the nights sky and think just how insignificant it really is..

11 years ago

"the earth is a very small stage, in a vast cosmic arena, think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that in glory and triumph, they can become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot" long live carl sagan!

11 years ago

brittish accent? carl was born in brooklyn, lol, anyway, inspires me to read the book, or watch cosmos again

11 years ago

he had me at ''we were wonderers''

...gotta love the british accent

12 years ago

A point of light in space an understanding of ourselves as a human race and our place in the infinite cosmos. Timeless works by Carl Sagan A+A+A+...

12 years ago

The music at the beginning creeps me out.

Sabin Russell
12 years ago

i love when this question is asked
''what year did this film come out''
we are given the title to the documentary
finding the release date is easier than creating a diqus profile
which they have done in order to make a comment

12 years ago

I could watch or listen to Carl Sagan 24/7 . I feel sorry for the people who can't enjoy CS . I can't get enough of him .

12 years ago

CARL SAGAN!! ...what else can we say about this documentary??

12 years ago

every single human being living on earth must see this video!!

12 years ago


12 years ago

the Internet is getting infested by a new kind of bug, troll its the name, and currently there is no defense against it. The only suggested antidote is to get away from the Internet, it is said that this new kind of infection will drag you to his own territory only to defeat you where is more strong. stupidity will always win when plays in its own ground.

12 years ago

What I find most funny about the 'motivation' argument for the hoax, that the USA wanted to beat Russia in the space race is that those videos weren't recorded for 'proof' that anyone landed, but rather, they were recorded simply so we could get a view of the moon's surface with people on it. There are other ways, I suspect, during the actual landings and excursions, that could have stood to 'prove' they were up there, such as comm signals and such. If you look at the engineering, I think you would find that the plans for landing on the moon would be perfect to a T, mathematically speaking. Thus, I doubt they'd fail to through with it.

12 years ago

You must either be a troll, or the most pathetically ignorant fool ever to post such a spiteful comment about Carl Sagan.
Go troll somewhere else, top-docs has been a pretty clean site thus far, we don't need scum like you polluting the place.

12 years ago

The only way to control a primitive race is to introduce a god to them, and it's all over with from there on. Only the ones at the top will prevail that wrath.
After applying well learned understandable egotistical value, and a focus on evolving humanity. What would you kill someone for or steal if there was no god or no money?
Dark forces work only for themselves with no reguard for any human being. Look again at those in control way above you and see if they have any belief in any god, look deep within the guidlines they inflict upon you, do they really believe in a god? Nope.

12 years ago

When looking at the scene, with a view on earth from mars, i cant help to think that its pretty bright compared to our view on mars from the earth. so does that mean because of all the water and life on earth, we reflect more light from the sun, than the other dead planets with bare rugged surfaces. if so bright small planets = greater probably of life?

Carl Hendershot
12 years ago


13 years ago

His "mote of dust" speech always makes me cry

13 years ago

I cried when he said his grandfather was a "beast of burden". This man was really a jewel among humanity. He and Feynman are my heroes. :)

Jack Green
13 years ago

There's something so depressing about Carl Sagan. The funeral music doesn't help.

13 years ago

Hello friend This is great. Also i suggest you look up the 3 part BBC series "the genius of Charles Darwin" by Richard Dawkins. They are his most recent release.

Kumar Sanghvi
13 years ago

Such a marvelous piece of documentary accompanied with wonderful narration from late Carl Sagan.... truly awesome documentary !!

13 years ago

Any thing narrated by the late Carl Sagan is always a pleasure to listen to. Thank you.

13 years ago

Wow, I didn't know there were so many out there who still ACTUALLY believe the moon landings were hoaxed. Too funny. Do a little more research!

Unrelated.... what YEAR did this documentary come out? I even scrolled to the end - the uploader edited it out. As commented on other docs, seriously PUT THE YEAR IN THE TITLE, i.e., "Documentary Name (1991)" Some of these docs are antiquated.

13 years ago

very trippy, love Carl Sagan, I hope humanity makes it off this rock in time.

13 years ago

Hi heythere,

The doc you are referring to is on TDF under the Conspiracy section.


13 years ago

Hey there!
There's a very interesting documentary with quite convincing (unseen?) footage (near the end of the docu) that proves that moon "landing" was faked or they wouldn't have tried to fake being half way to the moon. The documentary is called A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Moon and I don't think it's on TDF yet. It's on YouTube btw.


13 years ago

Once again Carl Sagan tries to encourage people to look at the big picture and our place in it. To look at our own foolishness and our narrow perspective and to re-evaluate our lives and ideas.

Achems Razor
13 years ago

Charles B.

It is a question of resolution. Hubble see's distance, and large objects like stars, galaxies, etc: Not little objects, and close like the moon. Even a football stadium on the Moon, would look like a dot to Hubble.

There has been independent verification and authentication, from dozens of countries, (even some which were and still are enemies of USA)

See my inclusion of a website on "Apollo Zero" here on TDF for more insight.


P.S. Yes, one surface or the Moon always stays toward the Earth.

Charles B.
13 years ago

Mr. Razor: I have a question for you. Pardon my ignorance, but doesn't the moon just stay with one surface facing the earth? It rotates around the earth, I know, but itself doesn't spin, does it? If such is the case, and we landed on the sunny side of the moon, then couldn't we just turn our telescopes here on earth and look at the moon (or even the Hubble Telescope) and see the footprints there and the trash we left? Surely the flag is also big enough to be seen! If we can see clear into outer space even from earth, couldn't we end the "moon hoax" argument with a few nice pictures of the prints? I hear that they will remain for a long long time as there is no "wind" there.

Seems simple enough to me.

The documentary: Creepy music in the background was perfect with Carl Sagan's "Twilight Zone" voice, especially with all the cavemen!

Charles B.
13 years ago

Mr. Razor, there's just something about you that I like . . . . . . . I think it's your subtlety! Not! ;-)

Achems Razor
13 years ago

I agree with, M. De Lastres.

There are 6 Apollo missions and Moon Landings, with total of 12 men that walked on the Moon. Over 420,000 workers took part in the moon explorations.
Of those, 90,000 Scientists and Engineers formulated the space plans and missions.

And then Moon conspiracy buffs say nobody went to, and walked on the Moon!

Ad Nauseum!

M. De Lastres
13 years ago

Cut-The-BS needs to cut the BS. I’m so sick of these moon landing conspiracy buffs. All they do is regurgitate the same ideas they hear from other higher level quack and they believe because it intuitively makes sense that it must be true. But I have never heard a theory from anyone that carried proper scientific credential or at least understood the methods of science. This argument about the Van Allen belt is rubbish. But I agree the argument is very elegant, however it has no scientific merit. I would love to know if Cut-The-BS even understands what the Van Allen belt really is and what the forces is that cause it. My point is that saying statements like that make these people look uneducated because their reasoning has no evidence.

Eric Howe
14 years ago

To the Moon Hoaxers: Stop hating humanity so much, we're not as worthless, stupid, and weak as you want us to be. We can and have left the planet.

Achems Razor
14 years ago

Hi, Max.

Yes and to strike fear. For the Russians only understood force.

That's why Reagan made sure U.S. had more bombs etc: And implemented the star wars program.

14 years ago

Hi Razor,

Moon geology and national prestige, seem to have been of little value, given the condition of east west relations at the time.

The space race, taken in the context of the cold war. Would have made no sense, without the possibility of military applications.

There were 22 Saturn 1B/V launches between 1966 and 1975, 7 of which were unmanned.

Achems Razor
14 years ago

I for one believe the Moon Landings were genuine. And they happened when they say they did. No doubt every big Telescope and Tracking System in the World, was aimed at Apollo 11 at that time!

If the Moon Landing was faked, do not think for a moment the Russians would not know! Instead of losing there Primacy, they would have been on it "Post Haste"

14 years ago

I don't doubt we went to to moon.

The question of 'did astronauts land' is not important to me, in that its a matter of engineering and not one of 'its not possible'.

The largest H-bomb at the time was the 100mt Tzar bomb developed by the USSR, which weighed 12,000Kg. Its quite possible that the US had something similar in its arsenal. The delivery platform for such a heavy bomb was, at the time, the bomber which had been made obsolete by anti aircraft missiles. The Mercury and Gemini rockets were not powerful enough to put a 12000kg bomb in to a stable orbit, but Apollos Saturn V rockets were.

Apollo was one way to develop a system outside of the military budget, that could in theory, put an H-bomb platform on the moon. Or deliver one to orbit.

The cost of Apollo program was $25.4 billion ($145 billion in 2008 dollars). In the same period total US military spending was $2.6 trillion (15.4 trillion in 2008 dollars).

14 years ago

To Nyax

While I agree the moon landing happened there is one very simple reason as to why they would hoax it.
To get one up on their only rival on earth the Soviet Union.
It may not have happened when they said it did but I like to believe we got there.

14 years ago

There are so many people that believe the moon landing was a hoax, but they never come up with a reasonable answer as to why someone would go to such length to fake a moon landing. If one cannot imagine humans overcoming the challenges of space travel, then I feel sorry for him. The Earth is bombarded by deadly radiation everyday, but it's magnetic field protects it, that would be a very effective way of shielding spacecraft against such radiations. Once we deal with pathological ignorance and greedy leaders on Earth, then maybe we will be able to turn our interests to the stars.

14 years ago

When we go back to the moon and find evidence of the moon landing in 69, and the garbage they left behind, I imagine the 'hoax' believers will have an excuse for that too. Whatever.

14 years ago

Hi Cut-The-BS,
I agree. Its possible that Apollo was part of a military programme. A prof of concept to put a bomb platform on the moon.

But I think that Sagan was looking as an optimist to the future of space travel. At some point we will probably overcome the engineering problems of deep space.