Imagine a scenario where a Voyager sent into space by NASA encounters an alien – proving all the theories of scientists and sci-fi writers true? If that is to happen, the Voyager will tell the story of Earth.
Voyager 1 and 2 are NASA’s most ambitious space missions till now. Both the Voyagers are visiting every solar system on their way! The voyagers are zooming in through the space, leaving the solar winds of the sun and finding mysteries of the deep space that humans have wondered about for centuries!
Voyager 1 achieved a record breaking goal in 2012 and Voyager 2 will reach it in 2017. Now it is highly likely that we aren’t the only life in the universe – so should these Voyagers encounter another life-form, how do they communicate and tell the story of Earth? Through the Golden Record.
The Voyagers carry a 12-inch gold-plated phonograph record only designed to communicate a story of earth if they reach any other solar system which contains intelligent life and humanity both. The Golden Record, its name, comprising a 12 inch gold plated copper disk containing 115 images, various sound clips, and 90 minutes of music of across the whole globe. There were also visual instructions on how to play it, the committee also included a cartridge and a stylus. There were also greetings in 55 different languages, and more than two dozen musical selection.
The first ever spacecraft to escape the solar system in 1972, was launched by NASA the pioneer 10 probe.
American astronomer, Carl Sagan thought some months before the launch of the spacecraft that what if this spacecraft is found by some extra-terrestrials? He realised that it was a big opportunity to communicate with them. Sagan joined SETI founder Frank Drake and Sagan’s wife Linda Salzman Sagan to design a ‘record’ for the probe to see various elaborations about its origins, which included an image of a man and a woman, Earth’s place in the galaxy, and also a diagram of an hydrogen atom. Sagan came further with his ideas on the Voyager’s, gathering a committee of experts and a musicologist Alan Lomax to initiate with sounds selection and images of life on Earth, and to include an LP record aboard each spacecraft.
Carl Sagan has described the record it as ‘cosmos’ in his book. Apart from music and greetings in different languages, the records also contain the thoughts and feelings of one person. That one person was Ann Druyan, who would soon be Carl Sagan’s wife. At the moment when all of this recordings was going on she was beginning to fall in love with him.
Both the twin Voyager’s aircraft carry them as an example of life on Earth at its most blissful, vulnerable and unadulterated – a human in love. They also carry an inspirational message – per aspera, ad astra – a Latin phrase that means, ‘through hardships, to the stars’.
Here is the playlist of the music on the Golden Record – Voyager’s Playlist.
So where are they now? According to NASA’s website, “Voyager 1 is in “Interstellar space” and Voyager 2 is currently in the “Heliosheath” — the outermost layer of the heliosphere where the solar wind is slowed by the pressure of interstellar gas. Both Voyagers use real spacecraft trajectories and are updated every five minutes. Distance and velocities are updated in real-time.”