1980: With 'Cosmos,' Carl Sagan Makes A PBS Blockbuster

By Jacob Shelton
Astrophysicist Carl Sagan poses before a Florida State University Distinguished Lecture Series speech. The original background of the image has been replaced by a NASA photo of the Cosmos. (Photo by Mickey Adair/ Michael Ochs Archives/ Getty Images)

With its 13 episodes, the 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, hosted by Carl Sagan, gave audiences a chance to look into the unknown, to dream of discoveries big and small. The show covered everything from the dawn of life on Earth to the possibilities that we're not alone on some rock in outer space. Moreover, it brought in hundreds of millions of viewers and it won a Peabody Award. This was highly entertaining educational programming for families who didn't have the economic resources of their peers. More than any other educational program, Cosmos inspired young people to follow their scientific dreams.