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Remixing an Interstellar Mixed Tape

Monday, January 03, 2011 - 11:29 AM

gold record gold record (Havelbaude/Wikipedia Commons)

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.



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Comments [7]


This feels like a "war of the worlds"-esque hoax. Testing listeners' ability to learn real-life lessons from the show? :)

Jan. 10 2011 02:09 AM
Zaker from CT

Uh, this whole thing is tongue-in-cheek right? Please excuse me, I am extremely gullible. The sources are- Yea... yea it probably is.

6. Convincing as it might be, such a cosmic “fair use” argument leaves aside the question of whether the presence of information in this decryption of a decryption may a priori violate key laws of physics. See M. Lachmann, M.E.J. Newman, and C. Moore, “The Physical Limits of Communication, or Why Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Is Indistinguishable from Noise.”

Damnit Radiolab, stop trolling me :(. I'm a big Sagan fan, and I'm coming from this with hurt feelings.

You click on the links under Transmissions to hear it!

Jan. 07 2011 02:57 AM
Dan Goodson from Chico California

Love Radio lab
BTW Voyager is misspelled.
Have to listen to Radio Lab every day.

Jan. 05 2011 07:58 PM
Joshua Pierce from Vermont

Cara Mia -

First, to get anything from the link above, you need Javascript enabled, and Flash for the audio player to work. (W/O Javascript, you just get a spinning icon on the main page, and can't navigate. W/O Flash, when you get to the audio page, nothing loads.)

From the site, first click on the picture of the Voyager spacecraft. From the larger view of the Voyager probe that takes you to, click on the Golden Record. (the gold disc on the main body of the spacecraft) This brings you to a large picture of the Golden Record; clicking that shows you the back side of it. From there, as you hover over different locations of the record, different icons will light up; to get to the sound player, click on the image in the upper left, the circle surrounded by dashes. This will give you the complete list of audio files which you can then listen to. I don't know why the site wasn't designed a little less ambiguously...

Jan. 05 2011 10:47 AM
Steven Donaghey from Brooklyn, NY

I don't know if this was covered in the "Space" episode, but the Golden Record was a popular discussion topic at the time. This message board poster summed up one of its more high-profile moments:
"In the Saturday Night Live broadcast of April 22, 1978, Steve Martin appeared as a psychic in a mock news show entitled "Next Week in Review." His psychic character revealed that next week, Earth will receive the first official message from extraterrestrials. The message: "Send more Chuck Berry."

Jan. 03 2011 05:47 PM
Cara Mia from San Diego, CA

I can't figure out how to hear the golden record on the website linked above! There is a link in the first paragraph that reads 'you can hear the entire golden record recording here' but I can't find the link to listen on the site you link to there. Thank you!

Jan. 03 2011 01:53 PM
Mike keane

I hears this on the radio in nj two days ago. Either on wfmu or wrsu.

Jan. 03 2011 01:41 PM

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