The US space agency NASA has planned big to mark the 30 years of the Pale Blue Dot picture of Earth. The image was captured by Voyager 1 on February 14, 1990. It was clicked by the spacecraft from a distance of about six billion kilometers. The original picture showed Earth as a blue dot within a band of brightness. To mark the anniversary, NASA has reprocessed the iconic image. The agency used modern software and techniques to give the photo a new look. NASA in a statement said its engineer Kevin Gill at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California planned the new look. It said that revisit has been respectful to the original data transmitted by the spacecraft.
The original photo was a compilation of images taken using the spacecraft’s three different color filters. The image was revisited using modern image-processing software and techniques. In the new view, the agency said channels have been rebalanced. This has made the picture look sharper. The beam of sunlight surrounding Earth was also adjusted to look white. The new image still shows Earth as a bright blue dot in the space. The dot is caught within a ray of sunlight just like in the original image. The Voyager 1 spacecraft has been flying for 40 years now. It uses small devices called thrusters to communicate with back home. It now tells scientists about interstellar space.
The Pale Blue Dot picture was the result of a campaign. The campaign was led by scientist Carl Sagan. The scientist managed to convince NASA to turn Voyager 1 towards Earth last time before crossing the bubble. The spacecraft looked back towards Earth and captured the stunning image. According to NASA, the photo was captured just 34 minutes before the spacecraft’s camera was shut down to save power for the mission. The satellite during the same imaging sequence also photographed the Sun and five other planets of the solar system. In total, it sent 60 images before crossing the bubble. The space agency named them ‘The Family Portrait of the Solar System’.