A recent episode of the CBS News program 60 Minutes included a feature on the Voyager space probes. The two probes were launched in 1977 with a primary mission expected to last four years. Forty years later, and well beyond their expected mission lives, both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 continue operating.
The story featured a photograph of Earth taken by Voyager 1 that has become known as “Pale Blue Dot”. At some 3.7 billion miles away, our home is nothing more than a tiny speck dangling in the sunlight reflected on the camera’s lens. Seeing this image made me feel very small and insignificant.
Surely, my presence on the dot does not matter.
As the program continued, the reason for my feeling small and insignificant became clear. “On the dot” and “matter” cannot be separated. Everyone I love currently resides on the blue dot or did at some point in time. For my life to have a chance at being meaningful, I must be with the ones I love, sharing and experiencing together.
The only impact that can resonate 3.7 billion miles away from our home is the one we create together. The quality and quantity of each individual’s contribution summed across time. I have influence on this collective legacy and so do you. As a sum of these parts, maybe we can all continue well beyond our initial expected mission lives.