SAGAN ARRESTED FOR PROTESTING
ME with Dr. Fiorella Terenzi,
Goldstone Deep Space Network, Columbus Day 1992
As a result of my involvement with Dr. John Lilly's dolphin communication group, I got in touch with what was then the NASA SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) group at Ames Research Centre because of a project I was working on. I visited a few times and got to meet Dr. Jill Tarter and Seth Shostak. My liason was public relations director Bob Arnold, who put me onto Dr. Frank Drake (who gave me permission to use his Arecibo message graphic in a piece of art) and to legendary science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (with whom I talked on the phone at length a couple times).
DR. JILL TARTER
SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE
DR. FIORELLA TERENZI
JON LOMBERG with VOYAGER PLAQUE
Bob invited me to a ceremony on Columbus Day 1992, which was to celebrate the beginning of a new phase of the seti work, involving the Goldstone Deep Space Network of radio-telescopes in the Mojave desert of southern California.
I was joined by Dr. Fiorella Terenzi, Italian astro-physicist and musician, whom I had met previously. Dr. Carl Sagan was there to give an address, and afterword Fiorella and I approached him, just to say hello. He seemed a bit skeptical in general, or maybe it was just the two of us, both with thick red hair (and she with other endowments that I lack!) We had his ear for a few minutes, but I couldn't think of anything cosmic to say, so we both got his autograph, mine on the sleeve of Fiorella's cd that I had with me. I didn't have my copy of Cosmos, and hadn't yet read Contact.
Later on I sent Sagan a painted rock and t-shirt with a flow-chart of the project I was working on. I was sad to learn that he had contracted a rare form of leukemia, and he passed away in 1996. Many people reckoned that he got cancer due to his 100+ personal demonstrations at the Nevada Test Site.
An article I wrote for Hiroshima day 2006:
"CARL SAGAN AND THE GLOBAL NUCLEAR SCENARIO: A COSMIC PERSPECTIVE ON TERRESTRIAL PROBLEMS" by JEFF PHILLIPS
Most people know Sagan through his literally astronomical efforts to convey the awe and wonder of the universe to the public mind. As the years went by he became quite an outspoken critic of nuclear weapons and spear-headed a lot of research on the 'nuclear winter' hypothesis. His main specialty was the study of planetary atmospheres.
He also spear-headed much of the 'search for extra-terrestrial intelligence' work, and even got to meet Joe and Rosie, the two dolphins at the Lilly's lab in Redwood City, California.
He was given his first job at Cornell University by the legendary late scientific iconoclast Thomas Gold, and is succeeded by his widow Ann Druyan, who co-produced the Cosmos tv series.
ASTRONOMER THOMAS GOLD
And I also got in touch with artist Jon Lomberg, long time friend of Sagan, who designed the Voyager plaques. I hope to catch up with him next time I'm on the Big Island of Hawai'i.
I didn't see eye to eye with Sagan on a lot of things: he wasn't aware that 'nuclear war' is actually the dissemination of synthetic radio-nuclides throughout the environment...not just bombs and missiles exploding...and actually began in 1945; he was a firm believer in the standard seti approach, that anyone 'out there' would necessarily be using radio waves and mathematics...as we understand them...to communicate with us; and I personally think that Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, yet Sagan demonized him and was even able to stop publication on some of his books. This is something I have never been able to get my head around.
JODIE GETTING THE MESSAGE
"It has been suggested that the contents of the initial message received will contain instructions for avoiding our own self-destruction, a possibly common fate of societies shortly after they reach the technical phase." Carl Sagan
"We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent upon its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave to the ancient enemies of man, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all."
ADLAI STEVENSON, 1964