Saturday, February 5, 2011

Voyager Golden Records - The Face of Humankind

When the famous Voyager I and Voyager II spacecraft were being created, the creators decided to add records containing a message to any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them in the future. The real dilemma, interestingly was not how to create a record but what to include in it. What might be the message that would describe our beautiful planet and the humankind itself?

What was created were the famous Voyage Golden Records. The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them.  But what exactly was included in the ultimate message by the humankind to the far reaches of outer space?

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, and thunder, and animal sounds, including the songs of birds and whales. I addition, a variety of music of various genres and eras was added. Finally, greetings in 55 languages were added.

The most amazing thing about the Voyager Golden Records for me is the message that they deliver. Just try to imagine some strange alien race or the humans of the far future discovering these golden records, which were lost for thousands of years in the deep reaches of space. I truly believe that they would be amazed of the beautiful sounds of classical music, as well as the amazing views of the nature of Earth. They would be astounded by the creativeness and good will of the human voices which greet them.

Of course, there's a darker side of humankind. For thousands of years people have been killing one another in bloody wars. For most of the last century people have been poisoning our precious planet and destroying nature in almost all possible ways. But when I think about it for a while I truly believe that even though humankind is not perfect, we have one amazing feature - no matter what happens humans never give up and make things better. And maybe if we remembered more often how wonderful and creative humankind can be, the world would be a better place. 

Thanks for reading! I also added some videos with information about the Voyager records. And finally here's some music and images from the Golden Voyager Records:

Thanks for reading!

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