Free Download of : Carl Sagan – The Cosmic Connection – An Extraterrestrial Perspective (Dell, 1973)
When I was twelve, my grandfather asked me – through a translator (he had never learned much English) – what I wanted to be when I grew up. I answered, “An astronomer,” which, after a while, was also translated. “Yes,” he replied, “but how will you make a living?”
I had supposed that, like all the adult men I knew, I would be consigned to a dull, repetitive, and uncreative job, astronomy would be done on weekends. It was not until my second year in high school that I discovered that some astronomers were paid to pursue their passion. I was overwhelmed with joy; I could pursue my interest full-time.
Even today, there are moments when what I do seems to me like an improbable, if unusually pleasant, dream: To be involved in the exploration of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; to try to duplicate the steps that led to the origin of life four billion years ago on anEarth very different from the one we know; to land instruments on Mars to search there for life; and perhaps to be engaged in a serious effort to communicatewith other intelligent beings, if such there be, out there in the dark of the night sky ….