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Space Capsules

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 11:56 AM

Record needle Record needle (alexkerhead/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)
How would you describe life on Earth to an alien? In 1977, the Voyager spacecraft launched into space. And with it, went the Golden Record-- a sort time capsule, a collection of sounds and images that would describe life on Earth to whomever or whatever might find it.

Imagine trying to sum up existence on Earth into one little record... for an alien or humans of the far-off future. What sounds would you use? What music? What images? We put this charge to a bunch of artists, and asked what they would put into a space capsule. And in this week's podcast, a few of the answers we got back. From Margaret Cho, Philip Glass, Alice Waters, Michael Cunningham, and Neil Gaiman.



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Comments [10]

Ay Bee from Earth

Can anyone identify the track underlying the opening introduction to this podcast? Am very keen to find out what it is. Thanks in advance.

Apr. 23 2016 08:16 AM
David Daniel from Iowa City Iowa

Has anyone done the cosmological math to figure out what the trajectory of Voyager intersects with and when that intersection might occur? Someday, will Voyager enter a known galaxy or nebula where it might intersect the orbit of a visible star system and a planet orbiting that star? When could that happen? It would be sad if Voyager's message were swallowed up by a gas giant in a distant star system. But the alternative could be exciting.....if it doesn't burn up in a planetary atmosphere.

Apr. 10 2016 04:37 PM
Alan Kelley from Los Angeles

I would send To Kill A Mockingbird. The movie. It shows how we struggle with difference and sends a positive message for how to resolve it. The film as well serves as a warning, as if to say expect trouble from us from some quarters. Boo is the ultimate alien, but we are finally able to understand things from his perspective. I think its a great greeting card.

Apr. 10 2016 04:14 PM
Debra Gelzer from Springfield, Oregon

Thank you so much for this fascinating program about space. Saturday night family watched the Scott Ridley film, The Martian, on our radio station, KLCC, and our discussion included Nasa landing on the moon, Challenger program successes and disasters and the waning of the US govt. space program, moving to privatization of space travel.
Today's Radio Lab was so right on!!! We loved learning and hearing space discussion that goes deep.

Apr. 10 2016 02:06 PM
Gertrude N. Poe from Florida

I think this is a very interesting podcast. It makes you think about the things that matter to you and what you would want to represent you. It also makes you think about what the aliens would think of us by what we send, what they thought our life at Earth was like. To me, I would probably send a book, one by Stephen King or William Faulkner. Literature is very important and I think these authors would represent literature very well because they are two of the greatest writers and would be a good read for the aliens.

Nov. 10 2014 08:16 PM
Keats A. Dunbar

This podcast made you really stop and just think. What would you send into space? While listening to the guests talk about what they would send, I couldn't help do the same thing. It's hard to imagine what you would show an alien or someone from the future to describe this day in age. There are so many things that make us who we are and putting in one little capsule seems almost impossible.

Nov. 10 2014 04:37 PM

Thank you so much!!!!!!! I just bought in on iTunes. Was looking for information on this song for the longest time!!!

Jun. 16 2011 08:11 PM
alfredboomslang from Planet Earth

Found it!!! The song is Merilyn Set Me Free by Casino verses Japan. Also featured in Radiolab's Sleep episode.

Jun. 15 2011 05:22 PM

I've always wanted to know the name of the song too, but don't know. Can anybody help?

Jun. 12 2011 12:30 AM
alfredboomslang from Planet Earth

They have used the song at the beginning of the show in another episode. Anyone know who it is?

Jun. 09 2011 06:54 PM

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