The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, launched in 1977, are now the furthest manmade objects from Earth. While it will take them tens of thousands of years to get even remotely close to another star, both contain messages on board to any aliens who happen to pick them up – however unlikely that is.
The Golden Record on board each spacecraft contains basic information about our knowledge of science, with diagrams showing our understanding of the atom and our position according to 14 pulsars. But there are also instructions on how to “play” the record using a device onboard, and doing so will give anyone who finds the spacecraft a glimpse at life on Earth.
There are 116 images that illustrate what life on Earth is like, and Vox has put all these pictures together in a video to show what our “message to aliens” is. The images include diagrams of human anatomy and views of our luscious terrestrial environments. Twenty of the images are in color, with the rest in black and white.
Check out the video below.
On the records are also spoken greetings in more than 50 languages, sounds from Earth, 90 minutes of music, and a message from the President of the United States at the time of the launch, Jimmy Carter.
“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,” the message says. “We hope someday, having solved the problems we have, to join a community of galactic civilizations.”
Both Voyager 1 and 2 are continuing to communicate with Earth; the former has officially left the Solar System, while the latter will do so in a few years. But, as mentioned, it will be a long time until they get anywhere near another star. Voyager 1 will come within 1.7 light-years of a star in the Ursa Minor constellation in 40,000 years, while Voyager 2 will come within 1.7 light-years of a star in the Andromeda constellation around the same time.
They will both run out of power in the 2020s, so they will be long dead by then – save for a lasting message from our civilization to any others out there.