A Lifetime Odyssey

Sasha Sagan, daughter of famed astronomer Carl Sagan, wrote a wonderful piece about her father and how life is both terrifying and exciting:

When you consider the nearly infinite number of forks in the road that lead to any single person being born, they said, you must be grateful that you’re you at this very second. Think of the enormous number of potential alternate universes where, for example, your great-great-grandparents never meet and you never come to be. Moreover, you have the pleasure of living on a planet where you have evolved to breathe the air, drink the water, and love the warmth of the closest star. You’re connected to the generations through DNA — and, even farther back, to the universe, because every cell in your body was cooked in the hearts of stars. We are star stuff, my dad famously said, and he made me feel that way.

Sagan’s 1980 series Cosmos is back with new life thanks to an updated take from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ann Druyan (Sagan’s widow), and Seth MacFarlane. The series is fantastic, paying homage to Sagan while celebrating science, learning, and the unknown all around us. And a lesser known, but equally notable, result came of this new endeavor:

But there is something else Seth did for my father’s legacy that has been significantly less tweeted about: He made it possible for all the contents of the Sphinx Head Tomb — all the essays on nuclear winter, the papers on the climate of Venus, the scraps of ideas, a boyhood drawing of a flyer for an imagined interstellar mission — to be preserved in the Library of Congress.