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Editor's Note: Light Years

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This story appears in the October 2014 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

My family celebrated celestial things. My sister and I weren't witches; we were small scientists. We always, always took out our telescope to spy on the unknown. Even on school nights. And usually in a very '80s way, listening to Blondie. We learned early on about the laws of physics, including the first law of thermodynamics: Energy can be neither created nor destroyed—only changed.

Our nocturnal lessons reached their apex on Sunday nights, when we tuned in to PBS to hear Carl Sagan's iconic mantra: "Billions upon billions of stars." We celebrated the vague idea of what stars represented: energy, magic, opportunity, potential and the vastness of the unknown. Who would dare to go there? It seemed so … unfamiliar, so uncomfortable.

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