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date: 06 August 2020


  1. We are not alone.
    Advertising slogan: publicity for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977 film)
  2. Beautiful! Beautiful! Magnificent desolation.
    of the lunar landscape
    ‘Buzz’ Aldrin 1930–  American astronaut: on the first moon walk, 20 July 1969
  3. We came in peace for all mankind.
    Anonymous: on a plaque near the Sea of Tranquillity on the moon by the Apollo 11 expedition, 20–21 July 1969
  4. Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.
    radio message as the lunar module touched down, 20 July 1969
    Neil Armstrong 1930–2012 American astronaut: in Times 21 July 1969
  5. That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
    landing on the moon
    Neil Armstrong 1930–2012 American astronaut: in New York Times 21 July 1969; interference in the transmission obliterated ‘a’
  6. Don't tell me that man doesn't belong out there. Man belongs wherever he wants to go—and he'll do plenty well when he gets there.
    on space
    Wernher von Braun 1912–77 German-born American rocket engineer: in Time 17 February 1958
  7. The fancy that extraterrestrial life is by definition of a higher order than our own is one that soothes all children, and many writers.
    Joan Didion 1934–  American writer: The White Album (1979)
  8. But where is everybody?
    on the existence of extra-terrestrials, known as the Fermi paradox
    Enrico Fermi 1901–54 Italian-born American atomic physicist: attributed, c.1950
  9. on Felix Bloch's stating that space was the field of linear operations:
    Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it.
    Werner Heisenberg 1901–76 German mathematical physicist: Felix Bloch ‘Heisenberg and the early days of quantum mechanics’ in Physics Today December 1976
  10. Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
    Fred Hoyle 1915–2001 English astrophysicist: in Observer 9 September 1979 ‘Sayings of the Week’
  11. Damn the Solar System! bad light—planets too distant—pestered with comets—feeble contrivance; —could make a better with great ease.
    Sydney Smith's ‘joke’ against Jeffrey on ‘the Moon and the Solar System’, usually quoted as by Jeffrey
    Francis, Lord Jeffrey 1773–1850 Scottish critic: letter from Sydney Smith to Jeffrey, 25 February 1807, in Nowell C. Smith (ed.) Letters vol. 1 (1953)
  12. Cosmologists are often in error, but never in doubt.
    Lev Landau 1908–68 Russian physicist: attributed in Simon Singh Big Bang (2004)
  13. The eternal silence of these infinite spaces [the heavens] terrifies me.
    Blaise Pascal 1623–62 French mathematician, physicist, and moralist: Pensées (1670, ed. L. Brunschvicg, 1909) sect. 2, no. 206
  14. Space is almost infinite. As a matter of fact, we think it is infinite.
    Dan Quayle 1947–  American Republican politician: in Daily Telegraph 8 March 1989
  15. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’
    after the loss of the space shuttle Challenger with all its crew
    Ronald Reagan 1911–2004 American Republican statesman; 40th President 1981–9: broadcast from the Oval Office, 28 January 1986; see Magee, Magee
  16. Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our Earthly hopes and fears.
    Carl Sagan 1934–96 American scientist and writer: Cosmos (1980) ch. 5
  17. It's a very sobering feeling to be up in space and realize that one's safety factor was determined by the lowest bidder on a government contract.
    Alan Shepard 1923–98 American astronaut: in 1961, attributed in various forms
  18. Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
    Bill Watterson 1958–  American cartoonist: Calvin and Hobbes (comic strip) 8 November 1989