The Voyager spacecraft have been on their missions now for over 37 years and have flown far past the orbits of the planets in our solar system. The image above was taken by Voyage 1 by aiming its cameras back towards the earth and taking a series of pictures. It is called the Solar System Family Portrait. The sun is not large as seen from Voyager, only about one-fortieth of the diameter as seen from Earth. Are we really sure that we want to believe that it is not what we can see in a photograph from far out in space?
Voyager 1 is exploring interstellar space 12 billion miles from the sun. The probe left Earth in 1977 and is expected to run out of power by 2025. Yet even then, it will press on, carrying with it a golden record containing images and recordings that convey the diversity of life on Earth. That record, which really is plated in gold, is meant to tell extraterrestrial civilizations about humanity. It is a textbook, and for photographer Bill Finger, a reminder that travelers often look back in yearning at what they've left behind.