Favorite Quotes

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The Poets


We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.


—T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets: Little Gidding, 1942


I say!” murmured Horton. I’ve never heard tell
Of a small speck of dust that is able to yell.
So you know what I think?… Why I think that there must
Be someone on top of that small speck of dust!
Some sort of creature of very small size,
Too small to be seen by an elephant’s eyes…


—Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!, 1954




To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour


—William Blake, Auguries of Innocence, 1803




The Explorers


Think what it will be like for those men who go to Mars

and see our Earth shrink to the size of a star, just a bright

blue star in the heavens. Think what those men will feel for it then.


—James B. Irwin, astronaut, Apollo 15, July 1971




We could not immediately detect the fact that Earth was shrinking

as we sped away from it. The Earth would eventually be so small I could blot

it out of the universe simply by holding up my thumb.


—Buzz Aldrin, astronaut, Apollo 11, 1969




Several days after looking at the Earth, a childish thought occurred

to me—that we cosmonauts are being deceived. If we are the first

ones in space, then who was it who made the globe correctly? Then this thought

was replaced by pride in the human capacity to see with our mind.


—Igor Volk, cosmonaut, Soyuz T-12, July 1985




For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line.

It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light—our atmosphere.

Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so

many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.


—Ulf Merbold, astronaut, FRG




Space is so close: it took only eight minutes to get there

and twenty to get back.


—Wubbo Ockels, astronaut, Netherlands, Columbia 7, 1985




It isn’t important in which sea or lake you observe a slick of pollution,

or in the forests of which country a fire breaks out,

or on which continent a hurricane arises.

You are standing guard over the whole of our Earth.


—Yuri Artyukhin, cosmonaut, Soyuz 14, July 1974




Once a photograph of the Earth taken from

the outside is available, a new idea as powerful as

any in history will be let loose.


—Fred Hoyle, astronomer, 1948


When it actually happened:


First photograph from above Earth’s atmosphere

Shows portion of Earth taken from a V-2 Rocket October 24, 1946


First of whole Earth from space

Lunar Orbiter 1, August 1966


First of whole Earth from space taken by humans

Earth-rise over the Moon by the astronauts of Apollo 8, December 1968


First of Earth and Moon together

Voyager 1, September 1977


First of Earth from beyond Pluto

Voyager 1, February 1990


First of Earth from the surface of another planet

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, March 2004


First of Earth from Saturn

Cassini, September 2006


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