Where can you find a phonographic record that includes greetings in 55 different languages, as well as musical performances by Louis Armstrong, and a percussion ensemble from Senegal?
And the answer: Voyager Spacecraft.
The Voyager Golden Record is an album that was included aboard the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecrafts, launched in 1977. Serving as a sort of time capsule, the record contains dozens of various sounds and images, selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and is intended for any extraterrestrial life form who may eventually find them.
Voyager 1 and 2 were designed to study planets in our own solar system. In summer of 1965, calculations revealed that a rare planetary alignment was due to occur late the following decade, creating a window of opportunity for pioneering spacecraft. According to the research, the planets would align in a manner allowing the craft to swing on to the next planet using the gravity of the first. In 1972, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab set to work, committing to the flyby of Jupiter and Saturn. Two decades later, Voyager 2 had not just accomplished its original task but also collected images and information from planets never before seen by spacecraft, such as Uranus and Neptune. To this day Voyager 2 remains the only craft to have ever captured all four planetary giants of our solar system.
But Voyager's trip was far from over. In 2018, Voyager 2 exited the heliosphere of our sun, marking the second time in history that a human-made object has reached the space between stars. Today, both Voyager 1 and 2 continue to seek outward, with billions of miles between itself and Earth. Scientists estimate that Voyager 1 will reach the edge of our solar system in about 300 years.
Until then? We wait. Learn more about the Voyager mission here.