I knew about the book from the documentary Cosmos: A Space Odyssey (2014) hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson. It was a book given by Carl (the author) to Neil during their meeting as a teenager.
The book talks about the gold plaque aboard the spacecraft Pioneer 10, which was designed by Carl Sagan and his wife. There are interesting reactions from people and is told in the book.
There are some interesting discussion on why alien hasn’t visited us (Fermi paradox), the way to search for them, is it wise to search for them, etc.
The search of alien life has to be rid of human chauvinism, alien life may not be similar to life on earth. The book also goes through the journey on how Venus is found out to be a sort of hell like instead of the beautiful planet people onced imagined, this fact is known due to scientific method.
There are some dated scientific fact such as the cause of dissapearance of dinosaur (attributed to climate change, but now known to be caused by meteor), but most of the facts are grounded.
The chapter on starfolk fable is interesting because it showed us how we get complex elements from Hydrogen and Helium. Then how life got started.
The books ends with neutron star/ pulsar and black holes, these were theoretical space objects that scientists had hypothesised which later found out to exists. Pulsars are used as “space candle” to measure distance. And black hole is left to the wonders of the reader as a possible “space station” to traverse the long distance of space.