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The Long Goodbye to the Solar System: Carl Sagan on Voyager 1 and the Golden Record

No one speaks more eloquently on the complexity, the poetry and the majesty of space than Dr. Carl Sagan. In this clip he discusses the far-reaching implications of Voyager and its mission, with special emphasis on the contents of its Golden Record.

Five billion years from now, humans will be no more. Except for our interstellar “message in a bottle,” what other relics will we leave behind for future beings that display the most positive characteristics of our species?



Voyager 1: Our Emissary to a “Community of Galactic Civilizations”


Thirty-five years ago, Voyager 1 rocketed out of Earth’s gravitational pull on a mission to gather unprecedented data of our native cluster of planets, moons and asteroids, as well as the space they inhabit.

Today Voyager’s mission continues still — writing home, as it were, of what it sees and otherwise detects. Although some scientists have proclaimed that Voyager has now soared beyond the bubble that separates our system from, well, The Universe, it appears that the reports were made too hastily. However, there’s little doubt that sometime very soon, perhaps within this calendar year, Voyager 1 will become the first spacecraft, the first man-made anything, to escape our Solar System and enter what’s known as interstellar space, a celestial desert whose apparent nothingness veils further mysteries for us to solve.

To a more advanced species, Voyager no doubt resembles the equivalent of a rudimentary canoe that has successfully passed its first sandbar. But for now, entering interstellar space marks a monumental event in human history that has no rival.

Here’s hoping that, many years before we are even given the chance to join a “community of galactic civilizations,” we will have gained the courage and fortitude to solve the problems facing our planet and its inhabitants.

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