The name & sound of this section is inspired by NASA’s space probes Voyager I & II, humanity’s farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, left Earth in 1977 and continue to send back data to this very day. Both of them are on the interstellar mission to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun’s sphere of influence, and possibly beyond. In August 2012, Voyager 1 made the historic entry into interstellar space, the region between stars, filled with material ejected by the death of nearby stars millions of years ago. Their story has not only impacted generations of current and future scientists and engineers, but also Earth’s culture, including film, art and music. NASA had placed an 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. Carl Sagan noted that “The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space, but the launching of this ‘bottle’ into the cosmic ‘ocean’ says something very hopeful about life on this planet.” Since the spacecraft could last billions of years, these circular time capsules could one day be the only traces of human civilization.
Thanks to NASA’s far-flung Voyager 1 spacecraft, now exploring the final frontier beyond our solar system, humanity can tune into the sounds of interstellar space.