THE GOLDEN RECORD
With the news that the Voyager 1 Space Probe is about to reach the edge of our solar system, I decided to post about the “Golden Record” it is carrying. Earth’s message in a bottle. NASA placed a ambitious message aboard Voyager 1 and 2-a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials. 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 images above show the record and its placement on the probe. Below is NASA’s description of the records contents.
“The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University, et. al. Dr. 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 Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played. The 115 images are encoded in analog form. The remainder of the record is in audio, designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute. It contains the spoken greetings, beginning with Akkadian, which was spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect. Following the section on the sounds of Earth, there is an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music. Once the Voyager spacecraft leave the solar system (by 1990, both will be beyond the orbit of Pluto), they will find themselves in empty space. It will be forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system. As Carl Sagan has noted, “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.”
The definitive work about the Voyager record is “Murmurs of Earth” by Executive Director, Carl Sagan, Technical Director, Frank Drake, Creative Director, Ann Druyan, Producer, Timothy Ferris, Designer, Jon Lomberg, and Greetings Organizer, Linda Salzman. Basically, this book is the story behind the creation of the record, and includes a full list of everything on the record. “Murmurs of Earth”, originally published in 1978, was reissued in 1992 by Warner News Media with a CD-ROM that replicates the Voyager record. Unfortunately, this book is now out of print, but it is worth the effort to try and find a used copy or browse through a library copy.”
The Voyager space probes are the fastest man-made creations. The message they carry will continue to press beyond our solar system. Probably lost forever, but then again you never know.
Based on data acquired by NASA’s Galileo satellite, astronomers think the global oceans sloshing around beneath Europa’s icy exterior are likely 2—3 more voluminous than the oceans here on Earth. Not 2—3 times more proportionally, 2—3 times more in total volume.
“Not unless James May becomes an astronaut.”
That time when Richard joked about James becoming an astronaut, and then that other time when James actually did.
From ‘Top Gear Series 6’ (Richard’s review of the Maserati Coupé) and the TV special ‘James May At The Edge of Space’
Mercedes is about to do battle with the Audi A3 and the BMW 1-Series and their warhorse looks like this.
Here’s another car to be unveiled at next week’s Beijing Motor Show, and another one that is going to become reality. Mercedes is calling this the CSC or ‘Concept Style Coupe’, but you should call it CLA as that’s what it will likely be badged when you see it in your local showroom next year, or early the year after.
There’s the new turbo-four 2.0-litre under the bonnet - with 211bhp – that will make it to the showroom, and there’s also seven-speed double-clutch transmission. This version has 4Matic four-wheel drive, but Mercedes in the UK has never been too keen on that option (as opposed to the snowy bits of the USA where every model seems to have it).
This must be a terrible show then.
Patrick Stewart from Top Gear Series 2.
I am proud to be part of a species where a subset of it’s members willingly put their lives at risk to push the boundaries of our existence.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Cool guys don’t look at explosions.
From Richard Hammond’s Crash Course (premieres April 16 on BBC America.)
The Mars Grover — unholy union of NASA & PBS [video]
E meu cel é horrível pra jogar Angry Birds e eu querendo jogar o novo =/
From Richard Hammond’s Crash Course
coming next month to BBC America