Math on Voyager’s Golden Record Tells a Story
|Copies of the Golden Record, sent journeying into deep space on the sides of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes in 1977, carries the sounds and music of Earth as well as a series of images to help characterize it.|
|The Voyager 1 probe, which launched 40 years ago today (Sept. 5), is humankind’s most distant physical emissary, at almost 13 billion miles (21 billion kilometers) from Earth. Voyager 1 and its sister-spacecraft, Voyager 2, which launched two weeks earlier in 1977,||
By Sarah Lewin
gave scientists their first close-up views of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. And the spacecraft famously carried with them what could be aliens’ first views of Earth, its inhabitants and their culture: copies of the Golden Record.
The astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan curated the record selections, and it carried sounds and music from Earth as well as greetings in 55 languages. But the record also contains encoded photos seeking to teach aliens the mathematics — or really, the measurements — needed to understand humans’ lives and their place in the universe.