Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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9780345376596: Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

"FASCINATING . . . MEMORABLE . . . REVEALING . . . PERHAPS THE BEST OF CARL SAGAN'S BOOKS."
--The Washington Post Book World (front page review)

In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.

Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier--space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

"TAKES READERS FAR BEYOND Cosmos . . . Sagan sees humanity's future in the stars."
--Chicago Tribune

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About the Author:

Carl Sagan served as the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo spacecraft expeditions, for which he received the NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service.
 
His Emmy- and Peabody–winning television series, Cosmos, became the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. The accompanying book, also called Cosmos, is one of the bestselling science books ever published in the English language. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize, the Oersted Medal, and many other awards—including twenty honorary degrees from American colleges and universities—for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan of their highest honor, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science . . . his gifts to mankind were infinite." Dr. Sagan died on December 20, 1996.

From Kirkus Reviews:

This logical successor to Cosmos (1980) offers the characteristic Sagan blueprint for humankind's long-term vitality. In 1990, while speeding out of the solar system, the Voyager 1 spacecraft snapped photographs of the planets. From a distance of 3.7 billion miles, the Earth appears as a ``pale blue dot''--a metaphor Sagan (Astronomy and Space Sciences/Cornell Univ.) employs to underscore the utter insignificance of our home world in relation to the great expanse of space. In his usual eloquent and impassioned language, he builds a cogent argument that our species must venture into this vast realm and establish a space-faring civilization. Fully acknowledging the exorbitant costs that are involved in manned spaceflight while we concurrently face pressing social, economic, and environmental problems at home, Sagan asserts that our very survival depends on colonizing outer space. Astronomers have already identified dozens of potential Armageddons in the form of asteroids that will someday smash into Earth. Undoubtedly, many more remain undetected. The only way to avert inevitable catastrophe, Sagan argues, is for nations to join together and establish a permanent human presence in space. Ultimately, he predicts, humans will conquer space because, like the planets that roam the sky (``planet'' means ``wanderer'' in Greek), we too are wanderers. Deep within us lies a spark that compels us to explore, and space provides the new frontier. The exploration of space will inspire the world's young people and unify quarreling nations. Technology has brought humanity to its moment of truth: Our species has the capability either to annihilate itself or to avoid extinction by journeying to other worlds. The preferable choice is obvious to Sagan. The book lacks even the semblance of a specific plan for achieving a space-faring civilization. Nevertheless, Sagan will once again dazzle readers with his brilliance and breadth of vision. (Photos and illustrations, not seen) (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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