Thursday, July 29, 2010
Voyager Golden Record
Back in 1977, the Voyager spacecraft was sent out into the great unknown with a golden sound record. It's traveling at about 38,000 mph away from Earth. What's on this record? Carl Sagan and other scientists gathered sounds of nature (ocean, thunder, wind), greetings in fifty-five human languages and some greetings in non-human languages (humpback whales, birds). They recorded sounds of heart beats and brain activity and musical pieces by Bach, Beethoven, and Chuck Berry. They have even recorded images and photographs in analog form. These images are pictures of humans, bugs, plants, food, and buildings. They have images of written words. I have no idea how aliens or future human civilizations-- are supposed to decode these things. NASA was kind enough to include instructions on how to work a record player. I think I would probably need instructions, too.