13 years ago, on this day, Carl Sagan lost a long struggle against myelodysplasia and passed away at only 62. His tragic death left the global community of astronomers and scientists of all fields with an immense feeling of loss. Never has one person brought to so many, with so much enthusiasm the grand story of our origins, and of course, the origin of the Universe. Thankfully, he left us an incredible legacy and continues to inspire with every passing day through the multitude of outstanding books he authored, and perhaps most important of all, the Cosmos television series.
First broadcast in 1980, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage remains the pinnacle of the documentary genre, encompassing the history of science, life, the Earth, the stars and the Universe, as well as our place therein and our future. Central to this 13-hour masterpiece, Sagan approached these subjects with the wonder and excitement of a child, exploring through imagination, but with the depth and understanding of a brilliant scientist. To his fans, his stirring and at times even romantic elocution would trump that of the greatest poets. And as one of them (a fan, not a great poet), I am left unable to express how much I want the world to see this series. I believe it should be shown in every school, in every country, and broadcast at least once a year for the world to see again. If I had the money and power to achieve this, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Fortunately, we are part way there, as many people discover Sagan’s work circulated on the internet every day. Even in our humble corner, we’ve seen users of this forum meet and embrace Sagan’s philosophy having never previously heard of him. It seems appropriate that on the anniversary of his death, we should celebrate the birth of his legacy, a candle in the dark burning brighter than ever.