Voyager Golden Records

How do we learn to speak? How did our ancestors develop the language which is now used as the basic form of communication? To quote Joe Sparano, “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” Well, what is more transparent than the language! On a normal day, I would have never thought of language as a design but the human achievements were possible because of the level of communication among themselves which was obviously obtained through language. Now, what if I told you that you have to communicate with extra-terrestrials who have no idea how to speak in your language, how do you look or how do you even communicate.

There is wide range of possibilities for their lives. Maybe, they are made up of completely different molecules and no trace of hydrocarbon is found, maybe they are highly-intelligent and use some other-unimaginable source of communication, or maybe they are like humans. However, what possibly could you say, gesture or draw to them which would help you to start the conversation?

Here is what, a committee of NASA scientists chaired by Carl Sagan(Cornell University) attempted. “Voyager Golden Records” are phonograph records, included in Voyager spacecraft in 1977, just before launching it into space for other species, if any, to be found. Quoting Carl Sagan, “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilization in interstellar space. But the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about life on this planet.”

About the records

                The records contain sound of nature, animals and some music from different genres to show the diversity on our planet. 116 images, sounds from nature, music from different cultures and eras, greetings in 55 different languages and “Per aspera ad astra”(Through hardships to the stars) written in morse code are all present on these records.

This is what was drawn to communicate. This can communicate and inform about various things to an alien species ranging from an hydrogen atom to our solar system. There were specific calculations done to denote out size with respect to the disc and an unit of size was also given. The number system was defined on which our world works and there was an idea about the size of each of the planets as well. If the extra-terrestials don’t find it, some-day human race will find it again. As I write the voyager is moving away from earth at the rate of 62,140 km/h.

Thank you for reading!