"There is only an infinitesimal chance that the plaque will ever be seen by a single extraterrestrial, but it will certainly be seen by billions of terrestrials. Its real function, therefore, is to appeal to and expand the human spirit,and to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence a welcome expectation of mankind."
- B.M. Oliver, vice president of R&D for Hewlett-Packard, capturing the true essence behind the Voyager golden records.
Head over to Brain Pickings to read Maria’s wonderful summary of Carl Sagan’s Murmurs of Earth, the story behind the records. It’s got enough power to slingshot your curiosity well out into interstellar space. Best thing I’ve read all week.
Carl Sagan writes about the intersection of astronomy and poetry in his high school paper, because Sagans do as Sagans do.
In case you missed it, here’s my thoughts on Carl’s legacy in video form:
An Early Draft of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue DotQuote
Over at The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen takes a look back at the evolution of that one perfect passage that gives us all the best feels. She marked up the copy above to highlight the differences between this early draft (oh the days of red pen editing!) and the final version, which you can listen to below.
I also highly recommend heading over and checking out Rebecca’s analysis of the meaning of a certain “mote”…
This document comes from the Library of Congress’ Sagan Archives, which were generously donated by Seth MacFarlane. I attended the dedication event last fall, and there was lots of these little tidbits of the legend-in-the-making.
When I got home from that trip, I delivered my thoughts about Carl’s legacy in a video, because it was a touching experience:
Do you have one of Carl Sagan’s books/DVDs? If so, you could be a part of something to remember him:
Carl has had a huge influence on many inhabitants of our tiny planet. Including me, as he played an important role in my interest towards science.
It has now been 17 years since his death, but a lot of people are still enjoying or discovering his literature and TV series. He lives on through all of us who care about his work, and I want to show it to the world.
This is the point where I need your help - please take a picture of yourself with the book(s) or DVDs by Carl. If I get enough images, I will make a beautiful mosaic out of them all together.
You can mail the image to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a facebook message. Please add your first name and URL.
I’ll receive the photos till March.
(Thank you to the people who’ve already sent their image ♥)
A mosaic of minds! This is something I’d love to see. It’s beautiful to see how many people Carl Sagan still influences every day (dare I say billions”?), some of whom weren’t even born when we lost him.
Shared knowledge transcends time, space, and even life itself.
Fact: if you sleep with a Carl Sagan book under your pillow, you wake up smarter through the process of cosmosis.
(Shamelessly stolen from David Grinspoon on Twitter)
This is Penny Lane’s beautiful and heartwarming short film about the Voyager golden records. Hits ya right in the space feels.
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s romance blossomed out of their work designing these priceless postcards to the galaxy. How appropriate, that an eternal message of peace, written with the aid of science, serves also as a secret love letter between two of the Earthlings who created it.
You can read the story of how this record was made in Carl Sagan’s Murmurs of Earth,
If you’d like to tour the contents of the golden records, visit the gorgeous GoldenRecord.org. You’ll hear a message from the UN Secretary General, a whale song, tour through mathematical and chemical imagery describing life on Earth, Ann Druyan’s brain activity, and more. Here’s the full rundown on what the record contains.
Οἵτινές ποτ’ἔστε χαίρετε! Εἰρηνικῶς πρὸς φίλους ἐληλύθαμεν φίλοι.
Paz e felicidade a todos
धरती के वासियों की ओर से नमस्कार
.تحياتنا للأصدقاء في النجوم. يا ليت يجمعنا الزمان
Hola y saludos a todos
Herzliche Grüße an alle
Bonjour tout le monde
Hello from the children of planet Earth …
We lost Carl Sagan on this day in 1996.
I drew this a year ago, but I’ve decided I’m going to post this picture every year, as a reminder: Sagan showed us that understanding the universe is within everyone’s grasp, that we are all scientists, and that in a vast cosmic arena, this Pale Blue Dot holds all the beauty, pain, love and knowledge that make us what we are. This universe is worth understanding, and we all have our part to play.
(Made with Paper)