Perhaps the greatest achievement in human history is the launching of the interstellar explorers, the Voyager probes. For a species that 100 years ago was taking it’s fist forays into the skies above our ability to rapidly advance the boundaries of our reach constantly amazes me.
NASA looked to a committee, chaired by the great Carl Sagan, to decide what elements of Earth and humanity should be placed on a golden record to be sent as a potential greeting to any other life that should happen to stumble upon a device that would be but a fleck of dust in the enormity of space. In fact it is so unlikely that anyone should stumble on voyage that Carl Sagan himself said:
The record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement more than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.
In those heady days committees actually got things done without need to placate various interested parties and the op-eds in the media. So into the darkness we have sent greetings in 55 languages, details of our solar system and our DNA, music by Beethoven and Chuck Berry and scenes from our every day lives.
Can you imagine the difficulty we would have today trying to get a similarly representative disc launched?
Continue reading “The voyage of Voyager”