I’ve had a monumental shift in my worldview after reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

Interview with Jatan Mehta

Space Exploration Writer. Three words that spark interest the moment you’re visiting Jatan on Literal and take a look at his biography. But what does a writer for all things outer-space do exactly? And most importantly: What does Jatan read?

Your biography on Literal is quite interesting. You label yourself as a space exploration writer. What exactly is that?

It’s much like a science writer except one dedicated to covering space exploration. I’m passionate about us exploring space as a species, being humbled by those endeavours, and use it as our zenith to push ourselves forward. To that end, I write popular science articles on my space blog and for publications to get people excited and informed about how and why we explore space, and the science we learn from our missions.

How does the interest in all things space impact your reading behaviour?

Space exploration gives me hope for the future. Seeing pictures of a lone Earth from outside and learning about the unforgiving nature of space really makes you wonder about the fragility of our planet as well as the boundless possibility that we can outlive this beautiful but impermanent rocky world. As such, I’m always leaning towards science fiction and future-projecting books, even if dystopian. Even for my leisurely reading, you’ll see me pick up a short Sci-Fi story, such as The Star by Arthur C. Clarke.

You are also a poet. One of your poems is called Words and contains a quote No wonder then / that you like to read, / between the lines, / And write on empty space” – what does this mean to you?

That there is always more to dig than what is being told and more to express than what has been imagined.

If someone asks you to recommend a book to them, which one is the first one that comes to your mind?

The entire Robot series by Isaac Asimov, starting with The Caves of Steel. With the series, Asimov doesn’t just set out to do world-building but to build a galaxy of spacefaring humans and their advanced robots. Personally, I love the consistency of the characters even in an imagined setting.

Which book had the biggest influence on your life?

As with many space enthusiasts, I’ve had a monumental shift in my worldview after reading Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. To sweeten the deal, his words were poetic throughout. It’s as if he was acknowledging that for all our flaws and failures, there’s still hope for our future. And there is no place for it but space.