What message would you want ET to find?
Science Friday looks at the Golden Record, an interstellar greeting and time capsule. Intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form—or future human—who may find it.
Common Core Learning Standards
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9–10.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11–12.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9–10.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11–12.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
In 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2 to explore and document our solar system and the interstellar space beyond. The craft will drift for billions of years in the emptiness, each carrying a Golden Record inscribed with a message to any intelligent spacefaring civilization that discovers it. These recorded artifacts included a diagram of DNA, greetings in 55 languages, a map of our solar system’s position relative to stellar landmarks, Louis Armstrong’s “Melancholy Blues,” and even the sound of a kiss.
- Use this discussion and writing activity for students that asks them to explore and evaluate the Golden Record and design a contemporary version.
- Explore more about the record on The Golden Record: A Portrait of Earth, including a recent interview with Ann Druyan and Frank Drake about the collaboration to create the Golden Record.
- Use this “Pi in the Sky” math activity to have students determine how much of Voyager 1’s original signal reachers Earth.