Friday, 30 June 2017

billions and billions

Writing for The Atlantic, correspondent Adrienne Lafrance share her extensive and dogged research in solving a mystery she encountered while studying the resurgence in interest in the Voyager programme, those two message in bottles dispatched and committed to the void four decades ago.
Generally, I am not one to hold others in suspense but I also don’t want to spoil the surprise that’s revealed in an excellent crescendo of engineering ingenuity and curating the gallery of sounds and images that will our ombudsmen to a future alien civilisation. The Golden Records, whose makers believe that if the crafts are not catastrophically destroyed will be playable in the for at least the next billion years, contain a sampling of Earth sounds meant to convey a sense of culture and the ecology of the planet. Many of the Foley artists are credited and known (go to the link to hear the whole album) but not for the voice behind the genuine laughter close to the beginning. The investigation teaches a lot about the production of this mission and the identity of the laugher shows that Voyager was not just a scientific expedition but also a cosmic and timeless love letter, which is probably the best sort of message to send out and hope that it’s a representation that we can live up to.