We dispatched them to explore the outer planets, where we can't go ourselves: observe rings, moons, alluring mystery. Beyond Neptune one final image, of a pale blue dot clasped gently in rays of light. Thereafter, night. They can not go back: blinded, must journey on, two tiny travellers alone on separate paths through the vast, cold universe. They are not – yet – lost in space. We can still trace where they are, faint signals from the darkness telling us how fast, how far; but not for long. Soon, voiceless, they'll traverse interstellar space, bearing golden records – earth sounds, earth words. Who will hear?
The phrase ‘pale blue dot’ was used by Carl Sagan to describe an image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 on 14th February 1990, shortly before the spacecraft’s cameras were permanently switched off to conserve power.