In 2007, I found out that Carl Sagan was dead, and that, in fact, he had died in 1996. I was extremely upset. Why?
I don't actually remember specifically what it was that triggered my distress. But now I think it had something to do with the incredible importance of Carl Sagan's message. The universe is so big. There's so much out there to discover and understand. And yet a deep-seated passion doesn't really exist in the general population. That's why we don't have humans on Mars yet.
"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day, venture to the stars."
My curiosity about space and science comes from my love of beauty and art, but unfortunately I was not gifted with a mathematically-able brain, so I can't pursue the universe through numbers and research and science.
I can however, write books and read books, and do my best to understand the what science is revealing on a daily basis. Like something coming out of a black hole? Phenomenal. A planet that rains glass? Unbelievable.
As long as we keep pushing and learning and thinking, we'll figure it out. Maybe not all of it, but more--enough to keep us digging, enough to keep us asking questions.
One day, we'll get somewhere. We'll put humans on Mars, we'll colonize another planet. And meanwhile, Carl Sagan's planetary research, efforts to derail pseudoscience, enthusiasm for the universe, and hope for the future will continue to influence science for centuries to come. And hopefully, we'll set foot somewhere--Mars, a moon, a new galaxy--on his birthday.
So, happy birthday, Carl Sagan!
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.