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Dr. Carl Edward Sagan
November 9, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York
December 20, 1996 in Seattle, Washington, U.S at 62 years
University of Chicago
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Carl Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the American space program since its inception. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA since the 1950's, briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo expeditions to the planets. He helped solve the mysteries of the high temperatures of Venus (answer: massive greenhouse effect), the seasonal changes on Mars (answer: windblown dust), and the reddish haze of Titan (answer: complex organic molecules).
For his work, Dr.
Sagan received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement
and (twice) for Distinguished Public Service, as well as the NASA Apollo
Achievement Award. Asteroid 2709 Sagan is named after him. He was also
awarded the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award of the American Astronautical
Society, the Explorers Club 75th Anniversary Award, the Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Medal of the Soviet Cosmonauts Federation, and the Masursky Award of the
American Astronomical Society, ("for his extraordinary contributions
to the development of planetary science
As a scientist trained in
both astronomy and biology, Dr. Sagan has made seminal contributions to
the study of planetary atmospheres, planetary surfaces, the history of
the Earth, and exobiology. Many of the most productive planetary scientists
working today are his present and former students and associates").