In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft as part of the Voyager Interstellar Mission. Each probe carried a copy of the Golden Record--a copper album, coated in gold, of images and recordings meant to convey life on earth to extraterrestrials who might someday cross paths with the probes. In addition to images of human anatomy and rush hour traffic in India, the record featured greetings in 55 languages, sounds such as thunderstorms and Morse code, and a selection of musical recordings spanning the globe--from an ancient Chinese composition to Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." (You can hear the entire Golden Record here.)
While the Voyager probes aren't expected to reach another planetary system for roughly 40,000 years, we recently stumbled across evidence that the Golden Record has indeed been intercepted by intelligent beings--check out this reworking: Scrambles of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record, Remixed by Extraterrestrials. And if you haven't heard our Space episode, take a listen. Ann Druyan (the Creative Director of the Golden Record project) talks about putting together the original compilation...and yet another advanced life form--composer Philip Glass--shares a remix of his own.