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Astronomer left cryptic message for life on Mars shortly before he died

The message is a bit cryptic for a couple of reasons.
  • Carl Sagan mostly focused on research on the possibility of extraterrestrial life
  • The astronomer was an early proponent of Mars exploration
  • Not long before his death, he left a cryptic message in the form of a recording

Published on Mar 25, 2024 at 8:38PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Mar 26, 2024 at 8:09PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood

Carl Sagan, a renowned astronomer, left a message for future Mars travelers shortly before he died.

And the message is a bit cryptic, to say the least.

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These days they make it sound like we might be traveling to Mars next year or so.

This is because, even though no manned flights to Mars have been planned yet, both private companies and public entities such as NASA are ramping up efforts to travel to the Red Planet.

Elon Musk is famously obsessed with it, he even says he has a ‘game plan‘ to take us there.

In fact, his space company SpaceX is cooperating with NASA these days, not just for Mars but also for moon missions.

But back then, when Carl Sagan was a rising star in the industry, Mars wasn’t exactly a hot topic.

Even so, the astronomer was just as obsessed as Musk, and he composed a cryptic message – a recording – about it.

“I’m Carl Sagan. Maybe you can hear, in the background, a 200-foot waterfall, right nearby, which is probably – I would guess – a rarity on Mars, even in times of high technology,” he said in his message.

“Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century, particularly with respect to Mars. “The scientists make a finding, it inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited and inspired to become scientists to find out more about Mars, which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science.”

“I don’t know why you’re on Mars.

“Maybe you’re there because we’ve recognized we have to carefully move small asteroids around to avert the possibility of one impacting the Earth with catastrophic consequences, and, while we’re up in near-Earth space, it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump to Mars,” he concluded.

The message is a bit cryptic for a couple of reasons.

The first and perhaps most obvious point is it’s unclear what he actually means by that.

The second thing that’s odd, is that it feels like he was kind of trying to make it sound like he was on Mars already.

That’s Carl Sagan for you, though.

Anyone familiar with his work will know that he had a particularly inimitable style and way of looking at things.

That’s why he was so cool!T

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