NASA Administrator Bill Nelson appointed the new director of the Goddard Space Flight Center, one of NASA’s largest and oldest facilities. The position was taken by planetary scientist Dr. Makenzie Lystrup.

The new director took the oath on a rather unusual book. Instead of the Bible or the US Constitution, Dr. Lystrup chose the book of the prominent American astronomer and popularizer of science Carl Sagan (by the way, his father was born in Kamianets-Podilskyi) Pale Blue Dot. A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Pale Blue Dot

The title of the book refers to the famous photograph of the Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 probe from a distance of 6.4 billion km (40.5 AU). The visible size of the Earth in this photo is less than one pixel, the planet appears as a tiny dot against the background of the vast space among the bands of sunlight scattered by the camera.

On the one hand, this is a very touching tribute to both a famous scientist who did a lot for the study of the Solar System by interplanetary stations, and a famous scientific photo. On the other hand, some say that it is neglecting the oath procedure and devaluing it. Because if you are an atheist and cannot take an oath on a religious text, you can always choose the Constitution as the main law of the land.