While he was alive, I pretty much took him for granted - he'd pop up on Johnny Carson now and then....
...his books and films came out in a steady stream, and he was simply there, ever-present in the media.
Since his passing, I've had the chance to read some of his work that I hadn't read before. It is only now, in retrospect, that I fully appreciate how much he gave us. He was a tireless evangelist for science, at a time when respect for science in America was entering a steep decline. He devoted an entire book to that concern - The Demon Haunted World - and warned of the risks presented by a world driven by mysticism.
We remember Carl now after a decade without him. But one thing he did, together with his wife Ann and son Nick, may outlast the entire human race.
Carl was the creative force that drove the addition of plaques installed on Pioneer 10 and 11, and the Voyager Golden Records that were launched on Voyager 1 & 2. All four of these spacecraft are now beyond our solar system, approaching interstellar space.
It will take 40,000 years for them to reach the neighborhood of another star. Whether humanity will be around that long remains to be seen.
However it turns out for us, at least our message to the stars was delivered by people worthy of the task. With the same love evident in this photo of Carl & Ann, the human spirit was hurled to the cosmos, where it will drift long beyond our time.