Sound of Humanity

In 1977, a very cool project was launched.

Into outer space.

Under the Voyager programme, 2 unmanned space probes were launched by NASA & the CalTech Jet Propulsion Lab. Apart from conducting studies, each space probe carries a gold-plated audio visual disc – in case it should be detected by any extraterresterial life forms that are able to decipher the information. The discs contain photos of Earth, scientific information but most fascinatingly for me, greetings from Earth (including that by the UN Secretary General, children, and various greetings in 55 – including ancient – languages), whale sounds and selections of music of the peoples on Earth.

Putting aside the intricate technical details (e.g. how the sounds get transmitted into/received in outer space, or how long these space probes can actually travel for – it’s been 33 years to-date) or why only certain music are chosen (storage limit on the discs is likely a factor), at the core is the very romantic notion that someone out there may listen to it. As the Jet Propulsion Lab puts it:

If you could toss a bottle out into space, what message would you seal into it for anyone — or any thing — to open some day far away from our solar system?

Although this project was launched before my time, and in no way am I related to NASA/CalTech, listening to the Voyager Golden Record moves me.

33 years is minuscule in the long development of humanity and travel distance in the unimaginably vast outerspace.

But if this project were launched 33 years later – i.e. today – what would you like to include in this “message in a bottle”?


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