August 8, 2012 AT 1:50 pm

“Whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.”

A lot of people are thinking about Mars lately — after the absolutely thrilling landing of Curiosity early Monday morning, we’ve all been dreaming of red dust. This beautiful message to the first martian explorers was recorded by Carl Sagan a few months before his death in 1996. From Brainpickings:

Several months before his death in 1996, Carl Sagan — who twenty years prior had co-composed the Arecibo message as part of the Communication with extraterrestrial intelligence (CETI) project and sent the Golden Record into space — sat down in his home at 900 Stewart Avenue in Ithaca, New York, and recorded a moving message to the future explorers, conquerors, and settlers of Mars. As NASA’s Curiosity Rover makes history this week, Sagan’s words echo with even more poignancy and timeliness.

[h/t Steve on Twitter]

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