NASA has put Voyager’s golden record stream online. You can hear it for yourself on their Soundcloud page. Besides containing greetings from just about any language you could think of, the record contains a compilation containing sounds representative for our planet.
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were both launched in 1977 with the set destinations of Jupiter and Saturn. But, much like New Horizons flying by Pluto in a great hurry just this month, so did the two twins storm by the two gas giants, not even staying for a cup of coffee.
On they went into the great unknown. And they both far surpassed their estimated lifespan. Of the original five year mission, the scientists from NASA decided that they should prolong their life by another seven years. So now, both space probes have gone visited all of the giant planets of our system and even nearly all of their moons, having sighted 48 in total.
Today, after 40 long years since the two crafts left the planet, they have gone boldly where no man made object has gone before. Now, Voyager 1 is cruising steadily at about 19.68 billion kilometers from Earth, finding itself in interstellar space, the first manmade object to go there. Voyager 2 on the other hand is a bit closer, at just 16.13 billion kilometers, which puts it right in the heliosheath – a region on the outer edge of our solar system, where its speed is being impaired slightly by the pressure caused by interstellar gas.
But what is this Golden Record that was sent along with the two Voyagers?
Well, on the off-chance that the two small crafts might meet any sentient life-forms, NASA decided back in the 70s that it would be a good idea to include a message that would pretty much sum up the Earth. So, a team was set up to decide what to send.
The committee was led by none other than Carl Sagan, the famous astronomer, and it eventually handpicked 115 pieces of information – images and sounds. A mother and a child, the waves of the sea, footsteps, heartbeat, the chirping of birds, the sound of the human voice in all languages presenting the “children of the Earth” to the possible aliens out there. All these sounds and many, many others were inscribed on two golden 12 inch phonograph records. The records included schematics as to how the device works, and also how to find our planet using 14 nearby pulsars.
Now, all that remains is for someone to find them, and us.
Image source: wikimedia.org