Pacific Tides
My name is Thomas Sturm and I'm a programmer, photographer and writer.

Now go outside and look at the sky.

Us on a Pixel

This picture is already two years old, but I just recently found that page and thought I share...

Here we have a photo taken of all of us by the HiRISE camera on board of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter - at the time Mars was about 142 million kilometers from Earth, which is comparatively close as these things go. So this is what Earth looks like through a reasonably sized telescope on Mars:

At the very moment this photo was taken, you and everything you own and about a 100-kilometer circle around you fit into one pixel.

I find it always deeply humbling to see all of humanity squished onto that tiny little marble in space that we call home. All of our lives and dreams fit into a 60 by 60 pixel square in that picture above... only 24 people ever made it to the top right corner of that photo - a trip of about 400 pixels - and only a dozen ever landed on the moon. Everybody else has been in the bottom-left corner only.

In photos like these our Earth always looks so incredibly fragile, just a small blue orb, maybe made of eggshell-thin Venetian glass. If you could reach into this photo and hold the planet in your hand, you would be deeply afraid to press too hard, or to let it slip and shatter on the floor...

Looking at this beautiful blue world, it is clear to me how incredibly lucky we all are to be here - the universe is a very violent place and for now we only have this one, small, fragile planet as shelter and home.

© 1998 - 2022 Thomas Sturm