The earth`s golden record

This is the “Golden Record” which is attached to both Voyager 1 & 2. It is a time capsule of sorts, intended to communicate the story of our species and our home planet to extraterrestrials. A similar plaque was attached to Voyagers predecessors; Pioneer 10 and 11, but the golden record contains a much more whole and ambitious message. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a panel chaired by none other than Dr.Carl Sagan. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from humans spoken in fifty-five languages.

The record, like the plaques on Pioneer 10 and 11, also contains information about our Solar Systems location in the form of Sagans “pulsar map” which shows the position of our sun utilising 14 pulsars of known directions. A binary code defines the frequency of the pulses.

Also included is a diagram which illustrates the lowest states of the hydrogen atom (Hydrogen being the most abundant gas). The vertical lines with the dots indicate the spin of the proton and the electron.

Both the Voyager spacecrafts have left our solar system since 1990 and now they find themselves in empty space. It will be forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system.

The likelihood of anyone finding this token, and understanding it is slim- but the idea behind it is lovely and is summed up well in President Jimmy Carter’s message on the record:

“We cast this message into the cosmos… If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours… This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.”

A true “Earth Story”. I hope you enjoy the idea as much as I do.


Image courtesy of NASA.

Many other pieces of information, including a diagram of the naked human form; both male and female, appear on the Golden Record, but I have not went into detail, this website is amazing and goes through everything: