Voyager Golden Record: A Gift in Space

The Golden Records are intended for any advanced extraterrestrial beings or for future human civilizations that might come in contact with the Voyagers.

Could a phonographic record floating through space lead the human civilization to another planet beyond our time and dimension?

NASA desperately hoped so when it launched two Voyagers with Golden Records in 1977, one of which is currently the farthest human-made object from Earth at this point in time.

The Voyager 1 has entered the interstellar space and is expected to cross the distance to star Gliese 445 in the constellation of Camelopardalis, in 40,000 years from now. Voyager 2 will have reached the distance of star Ross 248, in the constellation of Andromeda.The Voyager Golden Records, named “The Sounds of Earth”, are phonographic discs attached to two spacecrafts on a voyage to unknown depths and destinations speculated to be present in the undiscovered nooks of the universe, in the space across our own.The twin Voyagers, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, were launched with a message aboard that the human species exists and needs to communicate with extraterrestrials in order to survive their dying planet. The Voyager 1 has entered the interstellar space and is expected to cross the star Gliese 445 in constellation Camelopardalis, in 40,000 years from now.

The then-President Jimmy Carter’s message on the record says, “This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.”

The contents had been selected over the period of a year for space-faring beings to decipher and discover Earth with the hints and clues about the human civilization on the records.

115 images and a variety of natural sounds were encrypted into the discs. A variety of music from various cultures and eras, greeting in 55 languages, human sounds like walking, laughing and eating, along with written messages from President Jimmy Carter and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim were included in the records.The images consisted of black and white followed by colored versions show mathematical and scientific quantities, DNA, the solar system, human anatomy and reproduction. Various animal and insect species were also encrypted into the discs.

The music included ranged from pieces by composers like J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Stravinsky to Guan Pinghu, Chuck Berry and Kamil Jalilov.

An hour long brain-waves recording of Ann Duryan, a writer and producer, while she thought of various processes such as Earth’s history, its civilization, the problems they face and the feelings of love was also included in the discs.A map to pulsar, a neutron star, and the molecule of hydrogen were also sent out. A roadmap to the Earth has been attached in hopes that intelligent beings from outer space will decode it and find their way to the Earth. The Earth, according to NASA, needs to find a second habitat away from earth due to the deteriorating condition of the Earth and seek help from alien species.

The record cover shows in diagrams the various portions of the record and a manual on how to use the record for finding the contents within the record. The contents were made available to the public on soundcloud in 2015.

Stephen Hawking told BBC that he thinks it was a bad idea to put information about the Earth and human civilization in space for extraterrestrial beings to find. He feared that an advanced species would only raid Earth for resources and then move on, and that Earth should keep a low profile in the universe. The consequences could be similar to when Columbus found America, which wouldn’t be very good.

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