In year 1977, two spacecrafts left Earth, on a quest to reach the outer planets of our solar system. With them, they carried a message from humanity. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 launched by NASA, carried 12-inch gold-plated phonographic records (giving them the name as Golden Records) with the intention of communicating the story of humans to extraterrestrials.
This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.
These golden records contained sounds and images which depict the diversity of life and culture on Earth. Quoted above is an excerpt of US President Jimmy Carter’s official statement placed on the Voyager spacecraft. You can check out the contents of the golden records from here. You can also listen to the greetings included in the Voyager golden records from here.
40 years have passed since the launch of the Voyager twins and currently these golden records are billions of miles away from Earth. Voyager 1 has become the farthest human made object from Earth and has carried its record out of our solar system, while Voyager 2 is following its big brother’s path to reach the outer solar system.
However, Earth has changed a lot for the past 4 decades. Our cultures and lifestyles have changed a lot. Science and technology has witnessed a major revolution with numerous advancements in different fields.
What if we get the chance to send another set of golden records, as an update about the 21st century Earth?
Jon Lomberg, the golden record’s designer, has already started a campaign to crowdsource the content for the next golden record. It will be stored on NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft which is far beyond Pluto and heading out of our solar system. The One Earth Message will be a digital message that includes content submitted by people of Earth.
What to include?
The first set of golden records included spoken greetings in 55 languages, sounds of nature, a selection of music from many cultures, human brainwaves and 116 images picturing human life and planet Earth. However, some critics say that the original golden records were not able to completely convey the message of Earth and humans as it was created by a small group of people who focused only on the good aspects of humans. However, my thought is that, since this is expected to go in to the hands of some alien species which we have never encountered, it is better to give a good first impression. It will be unwise to start off with all of our flaws and the ugly side of humanity. What if the aliens decide to destroy our planet, thinking we were a disgrace to the entire inter-galactic civilization? Then it will be game over for us!
It is obvious that the Earth as well as people have changed a lot since 1977. So many aspects of our lives have changed. Apart from the basic stuff such as pictures of human anatomy, DNA, animals and plants, we must include evidence of these changes in the next golden record. We should give a clear idea about Earth and humans to the aliens who might get hold of it. My idea is that it is better to include some pictures depicting modern life style of humans. Furthermore, details of a few new inventions such as new robotics, personalized medicine, communication methods and computing devices can be included. To make things more interesting, we can include a simple AI program or a chatbot where it might even get the chance to have a chat with a whole new species of living beings! 😉
Our one and only wish is that someday these golden records will be found by some intelligent extraterrestrial life form and the records will give a clear idea about humans as well as planet Earth. However, none of the Voyager twins are heading towards any particular star. They are drifting across space-time continuum. All that is left to do is wait patiently till we get contacted by some alien. It can happen sooner in the near future or it may take millions of years from today. Till then,
Let’s enjoy reading about aliens in science fiction and let our imagination do the rest…
Hope you enjoyed this article.
Thanks for reading! 😊