Sunday, October 11, 2009

We Told Them Everything!

In 1977, Voyager 1 & 2 were set loose into the solar system. Voyager 1 is now 10 billion miles from home, and sometime in the next few years will reach interstellar space. Both spacecraft contain copies of The Golden Record, gold-plated discs filled with information about where Earth is located in the Milky Way galaxy, how our genitals work, far too much info about human DNA and various images of humanity at play and at work, and a selection of spectacular locations from across the planet.

One of those images is of Heron Island (image 41 in this collection)

Another shows the Sydney Opera House (image 95)

Maybe it's the booze-alternative talking, but I think that is monumentally cool.

It's possible that long after the Earth has been burned to a cinder by the death of our Sun, those images of Australia, and the greetings of Earthlings from more than 100 nations, will still be floating through the galaxy (fuel sources are expected to expire around 2020), waiting for something to find them, to fire up the disc player, push the right button and to learn all about our species, who we were, what we did and how we once dreamed of something bigger than ourselves and our petty squabbles that seem to consume too much of the lives we live on this little blue-green planet.

UPDATE : Carl Sagan says it all so much better :

I'm on a bit of a Carl Sagan jag at the moment, which never fails to refresh the mind and refill the well of wonder that can get a bit dry sometimes.

Carl Sagan On Cannabis : There Is A Religious Aspect To Some Highs

"Cannabis brings us an awareness that we spend a lifetime being trained to overlook and forget and put out of our minds.

"When I'm high I can penetrate into the past, recall childhood memories, friends, relatives, playthings, streets, smells, sounds, and tastes from a vanished era. I can reconstruct the actual occurrences in childhood events only half understood at the time."