Carl Sagan (1934-1996)


July 5, 1997


NASA honored the legacy of Dr. Carl Sagan today when Administrator Daniel S. Goldin named the Mars Pathfinder lander the Carl Sagan Memorial Station.

"Carl Sagan was a very unique individual who helped young and old alike to dream about the future and the possiblities it may hold," Goldin said. "Carl always liked to push the boundaries too, and the Mars Pathfinder mission, with its rover named Sojourner, clearly has done that. Even its very first images contain an array of fascinating scientific questions that he would have loved to debate. We will explore the area with his memory in mind."

Goldin made the announcement at Planetfest '97 in Pasadena, CA, an event organized by the Planetary Society, the public space interest group that Sagan founded with Bruce Murrary and Lou Friedman in 1980.

Sagan played a leading role in NASA's Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo expeditions to other planets. He has received NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and twice for Distinguished Public Service, and the NASA Apollo Achievement Award. Sagan died on December 20, 1996, at age 62.

The naming is reminiscent of the memorial dedication of the Mars Viking Lander 1 in January 1981 to Dr. Thomas Mutch, a NASA associate administrator for space science and former leader of the Viking Lander Imaging Science Team, who died on October 7, 1980, while climbing in the Himalayas.

December 20, 1996

De bekende Amerikaanse sterrenkundige Carl Sagan stierf vandaag na een langdurige ziekte. Sagan, die grote bekendheid verwierf door onder andere zijn populaire televisieserie Cosmos, is 62 jaar geworden.

Astronomer Carl Sagan died today after a two-year battle with bone-marrow disease. Sagan was a noted astronomer and gained great fame among the general public hosting his television series Cosmos. Sagan was only 62.

CNN: Carl Sagan dies at 62
Carl Sagan homepage

December 23, 1996

In honor of Carl Sagan's death, the Flag of Earth at the Ohio State University Radio Observatory has been lowered to half staff.

The Flag of Earth is flown at all observatories around the world engaged in the search for life outside the Earth. This flag is used worldwide for all activities done on behalf of humankind as a whole, not related to any specific individual, organization or country.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is one such activity, and the OSU Radio Observatory is the location of the longest-running search on Earth. The Flag of Earth has flown there for many years.

Carl was keenly interested in this topic, and the Planetary Society, which he founded, has given research grants to the OSU Radio Observatory.

Dr. Robert Dixon
Director, OSU SETI Program


DECEMBER 20, 1996

CARL E. SAGAN (1934-1996)

We join the rest of the world -- astronomical and otherwise -- in mourning the loss of Carl Sagan on December 20th at 62. A professor of astronomy at Cornell University and a scientific popularizer known worldwide, he died of pneumonia after a two-year battle with a bone-marrow disease called myelodysplasia. Sagan's principal research interests were planetary exploration and searching for life in the universe. He was also the author of many books, and his "Cosmos" television series remains very popular more than 15 years after its initial broadcast. Sagan and his wife, Ann Druyan, were just finishing the second edition of the book Comet, which will be published early next year by Ballantine Books.

NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC

December 20, 1996


"All of us at NASA are saddened by the passing of Carl Sagan. For more than three decades, Dr. Sagan was an eloquent, passionate voice for the sciences that he so ably advanced.

As much as any scientific figure of our time, Carl described for an entire generation -- the generation of the Space Age -- the true wonders of the Universe around us. His unbelievable ability to explain the complexities of space and space exploration inspired people to look up into the night sky in wonder. Through such efforts as the television series 'Cosmos' and his recent book, 'Pale Blue Dot,' Carl reached -- and touched --millions around the world.

He was a pioneer of the idea that life could exist on Mars, years before NASA was able to uncover evidence of potential early life on the Red Planet, and he was an important voice in our Mars science programs for many years. He was an early champion of the idea that the two leading spacefaring powers, America and Russia, should work together in the exploration of space.

He also was at the forefront of constructing humanity's first messages to the stars, which even now are hurtling out of our Solar System aboard the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft. Carl himself likened the effort to the launching of a message in a bottle on the interstellar ocean. We will remember his vision, his eloquence, and his intellect, and we will miss him."

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