Sagan Day Celebrations – Day VIII

The Sagan Essay Contest Winner!
The Cosmic Tour Guide –
By Renee James

 Carl Sagan’s Cosmos was life-changing. It was what every fable promises. A simple street urchin is, in fact, long-lost royalty. Only it wasn’t a fable. I was connected to the cosmos. Me! Read Full Essay


My Father – By Dorion Sagan

 My father was unparalleled in his ability to convey the essence of science in poetic language. He was pleasant to look at, hypnotic to listen to, and the conviction and enthusiasm of his presentations—which took the form of a moral imperative for us to know ourselves—were infectious. I miss him; the world misses him. Read Full Essay

Sagan Day Celebrations – Day VII

Charting the Islands of the Cosmic Ocean – By Dan Mills

The universe is actively organizing, developing, and sustaining life, generating sensation, perception, and mind. We become part of a much larger process. We become part of the waking mind of the cosmos. Inhabited worlds spaced like neurons, joined in a universal network investigating reality. Read Full Essay


For Carl Sagan’s Birthday – By Geoffrey W. Marcy

We Homo sapiens bear two great challenges. One is to remain good stewards of our home planet, which may be a rare cosmic orb suitable for technological life. And it is to survive long enough to venture to the stars, allowing the universe to know itself a bit better. Read Full Essay


Sagan Day Celebrations – Day VI

We Are at the Prow of the Whole – By Rui Borges

We find ourselves, in this present time, in this present space, sharing a common opportunity to consciously share the wonders of this journey through the Universe. We are, at the same time, those with the power to generate questions and to seek the answers. We are the whole on a quest for its own reason. The Universe has, in its infinite sequence of events, generated its own awareness and we, as life, as percipient life, are at the threshold of the Incredible. Read Full Essay


50 Years of SETI: One Cup of the Cosmic Ocean – By Jill Tarter, SETI Institute

Frank Drake conducted the first radio search for extraterrestrial intelligence fifty years ago; radio and optical search programs have been ongoing ever since. Many people think that means that we’ve searched exhaustively and should now draw pessimistic conclusions from our lack of success thus far. Carl Sagan knew better. His imagery of the vast cosmic ocean puts our efforts into context. We have barely begun to search! Read Full Essay

Sagan Day Celebrations – Day V

The Restless Spirit of Science – By Bret S. Moore

There is in humanity a great, latent restlessness. We are rarely content to enjoy the same view for very long. We can’t seem to help ourselves, we are constant migrants, vagabonds, equal parts Huck Finn, Leo Africanus, and Alice. Read Full Essay


Some Personal Thoughts – By Nick Gautier  – Project Scientist for the Kepler Project

Carl’s work had direct effects on my personal life as well. From an early age I was enthralled with the ideas of space travel, other worlds, and other intelligent beings. How boring it would be if we were alone. But, it’s difficult to make real progress in space exploration as a nine-year-old so I proceeded with the usual process of growing up and getting an education. A timely inspiration for me was Carl’s 1966 book with Iosif Shklovskii, Intelligent Life in the Universe, which helped lay the foundation for rational, scientific study of my childhood fascination. Read Full Essay

Sagan Day Celebrations – Day IV

A Beacon In The Cosmic Ocean – By Nick Previsich

It took a moment for my eyes to adjust. Slowly, though, the sky above began to appear granular. After a few more minutes I saw brighter lights and many, many lesser ones…and they kept coming. The longer I looked, the more became apparent. Gradually, I realized that the stripe of cloud running north to south was in fact the Milky Way…and I was jarred by a sense of three-dimensionality about what I was seeing.

There it was: the Galaxy. Read Full Essay

Looking Out to Sea – By Stuart Atkinson

My companion smiled knowingly. “You had an epiphany, my friend,” he said, “all astronomers have one, either as a child or later in life, a moment when the wonders of the cosmos are revealed to them for the first time, and they sense our place in the universe. Weren’t you frightened?”

I shook my head vigorously. “Frightened? No! I was – liberated! I felt… free…” I turned to him. “Does that make sense?” Read Full Essay

Sagan Celebrations – Day III

Keeping Our Place In A Complex Universe

By Michael Fried

Photons stream into your eyes and are interpreted by your spectacularly sophisticated brain. Your brain, which is capable of instantly picking the correct words to form sentences out of its collection of tens or hundreds of thousands of words. After all, the you that thinks and feels is really just your brain. And they’re not much to look at. No offense. Read Full Essay


The Shore of the Cosmic Ocean:
A Confluence of Humanity and Science

By Emma Bakes, PhD, MD candidate

I was fourteen years old, engrossed in nightly piano practice, when my mother came into the lounge and announced, with a great deal of excitement, that there was a TV program showing that I needed to see. I sighed heavily, in a way only teenagers can, accompanied by the obligatory eye roll, and decided it had better be good, because few things can outrank a Beethoven sonata. That TV program was “Cosmos” and within minutes, I found myself enthralled by Carl Sagan, his unique vision of the universe and humanity’s place within it. Read Full Essay

Sagan Celebrations – Day II

Today at Kepler’s:

Echoes on the Shore: Reflections of the Legacy of Carl Sagan – By Christian Brown

Sagan was a spokesman for a glorious reality that is, for all of its awesomeness, undeniably real. In the eye of the public, geniuses and charlatans alike are most often judged not by the content of their message, but by the skillfulness of their delivery. Sagan was a rare blend of style and substance, a potent combination of showmanship and the sacrosanct, the likes of which can capture the attention of an entire planet. Read Full Essay

Shore Leave – Some thoughts inspired by  The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean, by Carl Sagan – By Jeffrey Van Cleve

As I watched Carl Sagan travel in his “Ship of the Imagination” in “The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean,” I felt amazement at the achievements of the human mind and hand, not only in Sagan’s message but also in the medium through which I was viewing it: the iPhone, YouTube, and all the technology behind them; we’re some pretty smart monkeys, after all. As Sagan’s journey started with a dandelion, went to the edge of the Universe, and returned, I felt a sense of beauty, like Blake, “to see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower.” Read Full Essay

Come Celebrate Sagan!


Today is the launch of Kepler Mission’s celebrations of Carl Sagan’s 76th Birthday, to take place on November 9.

To mark the occasion, essays from the general public and articles by invited guests will be published on a daily basis at Kepler’s website.

Today you will find an essay by Sarah O’Sullivan and a special appearance by Seth Shostak.

It is also there that you will be able to find and original musical piece composed by Lyford Rome expressly to this special event.

Go! There is something incredible waiting to be known!


Sagan Day Essay Contest

Sagan Day Essay Contest

Sponsored by NASA’s Kepler Mission and SETI Institute

His words — our words — as beacons for the future.

Theme: “The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980 In honor of Carl Sagan’s birthday on November 9th, we invite you to pause and reflect on the imagery that he created for us in his allegory of the Shore of the Cosmic Ocean. We invite you to communicate your thoughts and ideas, your reflections on the past and your visions for the future. We want the written expressions of what you see as you stand on that shore. How did you arrive there with your individual perspective? Where will we go from here? What drives us toward those distant shores? What embodies the spirit of exploration? All ideas inspired by The Shore of the Cosmic Ocean are acceptable.

Please send your contributions to:

Deadline: October 26, 2010

Awards Announced: November 9, 2010

More details here.


When the concept of the Homo Viator Manifest emerged in my mind, it was of something like a tree, with a trunk from where diverse branches would radiate but being part of the same structure.
The first part of it was the fruit of the collaboration between myself and two dear friends, Stuart Atkinson and Nicholas Previsic…h. Since then it served also as inspiration for an audiovisual performance and other artworks. (which you can see here:
Now I would like to invite you, challenge you, to also become part of it. I want the Manifest to grow in as many different directions as possible. Go have a read and, if you feel inclined to write your own part of it, to share your own roadmap, send me an e-mail (rui dot alexandre dot borges at gmail dot com), the doors are open. Let us see in which direction the branches will grow.