Voyager I Bears a “Story of Our World to Extraterrestrials”
Today’s big story involves Voyager I’s arrival at the final frontier. But the following item in the CNN account, flagged by my good friend PJ Aspuria, is even more intriguing to me:
Golden record: Should they encounter any form of life, the Voyager probes carry a greeting. The message comes via a phonograph record — a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk with sounds and images showing the diversity of life and culture on Earth.
OTB’s space-geek readers probably know about the Golden Record. Indeed, given that its official page has been up since January 2003, even casual NASA followers likely have some idea of its existence. But it’s all new to me, and I find it utterly fascinating.
For instance, the Golden Record, created by Carl Sagan (of course), contains greetings in 55 different languages. I can understand the inclusion of the ten most widely used in the world, but why is Ukrainian selected? On a global scale, it doesn’t seem to be a particularly noteworthy language. What am I overlooking?
As for the photograph index, it’s interesting that “Man from Guatemala” is singled out. But, again, why do the Guatemalans get to represent contemporary Latin America? On a more basic level, I suppose extraterrestrials will be happy to learn about human reproductive capacities, as well as the act of breastfeeding.
Obviously, my questions are on the naive side. I’m sure that I’m revealing a lot more ignorance than I probably should in a public forum. But a number of selections just strikes me as a bit random. Then again, perhaps that’s exactly the point: to show earthly living in its true form, maybe we need to have seemingly inexplicable diversity.