Take this quote from Carl Sagan:
How lucky we are to live in this time – the first moment in human history when we are, in fact, visiting other worlds.I consider myself fortunate to be a witness to human discoveries. I know things that people who came before did not know maybe never even dreamed of. Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto but I have seen the geological feature named after him. I have seen Pluto’s demise as a planet but may be around to see its replacement.
What makes me sad, though, is that I will not be around to see some other fantastic discoveries. While I am optimistic that one day humans will explore other worlds outside our solar system, I am not so optimistic that that I will be around to see it happen. Forty light years doesn’t seem far and at the same time, it is depressingly far. Even the nearest star system seems just beyond our reach.
When those new worlds come into view and when new life is discovered, I hope that our descendants will realize how lucky they are to be living in their time. Each generation gets to make their mark on history and I must remind myself that we don’t get to make all of them.