As a young child I wasn’t encouraged to watch too much television, but “Cosmos” was one exception to the weeknight homework rule. One night a week my brother and I sat together on a couch in Rhode Island to marvel at the possibilities of outer space as presented by a certain turtlenecked professor. If the universe was as big as he imagined, then surely life existed in other places and it was merely a matter of time before we connected with that life. In years when my daydreams ran wildly with the childhood pictures of nuclear winter and nightmares of being the Only One Left, Sagan’s fears were the same… but his questions, worded as only he could pronounce them, sparked in me thoughts of friendly Others, shared technology that would lead to a cure for cancer, and cosmic peace summits and universal treaties.
He made science fun and accessible, his enthusiasm was contagious, he was cool. Around that time (1979?) I wrote a journal entry proclaiming that I would go to Cornell and study with Sagan and plan a Mars mission. Well, I’d realize only a teency bit of that dream… but wouldn’t you know Sagan’s own student Steve Squyres WOULD lead the mission to Mars.
Jennifer at jenimi sent along this excellent picture and testimonial. For more please read here.