Voyager-1 has left the solar system, but what message is it carrying to the stars?
The Golden Record is a gold-plated copper phonograph carrying images and audio recording of humanity and the animal life of Earth.
Launched 36 years ago in September 1977, the Voyager-1 spacecraft (alongside its twin, Voyager-2) was built to carry out a Planetary Grand Tour.
Now, after travelling almost 19 billion kilometres (12bn miles) from Earth, Voyager-1 has become the first man-made object to leave the solar system. But it’s not just sending back signals to Earth, Voyager-1 is also carrying a present for anyone who finds it: the Voyager Golden Record.
American astronomer Carl Sagan described the inclusion of the Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft as launching a message in a bottle “into the cosmic ocean”: “[it] says something very hopeful about life on this planet”.
Encoded on the disc is a compilation of sounds and images intended to encapsulate the diversity of life on Earth, as well as outline humanity’s basic knowledge of physics, chemistry and astronomy.
Although the Golden Record is not a serious attempt to contact extraterrestrial life, the contents of the disc were still a subject of great debate. Which music and which images would be chosen to best represent the human species? The choices were made by a committee headed by Sagan, with contributions from Rolling Stone contributing editor Timothy Ferris, author Ann Druyan, and artist Jon Lomberg.