The NASA Voyager Probes are the longest-living spacecrafts ever invented by humanity and have traveled farther into space than anything else. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are apart of the Voyager Interstellar Mission to study interstellar space and the Deep Space Network. These two probes were launched back in 1977, Voyager 2 on August 20 and Voyager 1 on September 5, and on February 10, 1998, Voyager 1 become the most distant human-made object in space. With Voyager 1 now 20.8 billion kilometers away from the sun and Voyager 2 17.2 billion kilometers, as of August 2017, both are traveling at a speed of about 3.4 Astronomical Units per year. These probes can last for billions of years, so who knows what they can find in that time and the pace they are traveling at.
The Golden Record
On each probe, there is a Golden Record filled with information about Earth and humanity to any extraterrestrial activity who might end up receiving it. These messages are carried on a twelve-inch gold-plated copper disk, which on the cover contains important facts about life on Earth and how to work and send back a message using the phonograph. On the cover, it shows a picture of the phonograph and the stylus that is being carried inside, as well as binary arithmetic, the 1977 understanding of the Hydrogen atom and more visuals of how to operate the record.
On the record, it holds 115 pictures of Earth as well of recorded natural sounds of Earth such as animal sounds, thunder, wind, and the surf. NASA also added people saying a greeting in fifty-five languages and music from a bunch of different cultures and eras. They wanted to make sure that other life could get a feel of how life is on Earth both naturally and culturally. But this is also from back in 1977, and for the past 40 years, we have not been able to upgrade the data that is on the Golden Record. Therefore, most likely a lot of time will have passed since this information can be collected, and by that time our humanity will have evolved a lot, so it will not be entirely accurate if it does find any other kind of life in the universe.
Example of pictures that NASA put on the Golden Record:
Image credits - https://go.nasa.gov/2GCqFQl
For more information on the Voyager Probes visit: https://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/
Track the Probes: https://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-voyager.html
Written by: Ellie Humphreys
Ellie Humphreys is the Board Member for Voyager Space Outreach for writing Blog posts on STEM/Space Topics.