Seventy-eight years ago, today, the great Carl Sagan was born. Author of just the one SF novel, Contact, Sagan is nonetheless rightly revered by science fiction fans for his tireless evangelizing on behalf of science in general, but astronomy and the space sciences in particular.
Pulitzer Prize-winner, co-founder of the Planetary Society, prime mover behind the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, and voice of the cosmos to a generation, Carl Sagan died, far too young, in 1996. The torch he lit has been passed on to a new generation of science popularisers, now – most notably Professor Brian Cox, on this side of the Atlantic, and Doctor Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the other – but we still miss the original.
“A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars – billions upon billions of stars.”