Anyway, another job Voyager 1 (and its underachieving twin brother Voyager 2) were given, besides scoping out the outer planets, all of their rings and 49 moons, was to serve as an Earth ambassador to any alien life form that might encounter it. On board is a sort of 'welcome kit' for our ridiculous planet, kind of like the brochure you would find in the lobby of a Red Roof Inn in Colorado Springs. One filled with pictures of a clunky western train you can ride that winds around a few abandoned mines toward a baked beans and Sloppy Joe cookout near an Indian casino. In 2 hours, for only $89 per person, you can experience what it's like to live in Colorado Springs! There's another more realistic tour where your house catches on fire right before a landslide buries it, but that one is considerably more expensive.
The Earth brochure on board the Voyager is actually in the form of a gold plated record. It contains sounds, images, spoken word in 55 different languages and various musical selections from different eras and cultures meant to represent who we are as a people and a planet. Included are: sounds of surf, wind, whales and thunder. Photos of humans, food, architecture and landscapes. There are even diagrams of mathematical formulas, DNA molecules and interestingly, one that describes how to build a record player so whoever finds it can actually play the disc. I'm guessing that was a clutch last minute addition.
Since this record was launched in the late 70's, its a obviously a bit outdated. I propose we pop a new time capsule into the next rocket just as a fresh update. Perhaps this time, in the form of a miniature Hello Kitty thumb drive so they can marvel at our technology and simultaneously be disarmed by our cuteness.
Some of the things I think it should include are:
- A few examples of what we now like to eat. It's likely extraterrestrial life would be very impressed with our ability to transform the simple ingredients found on Earth into things well beyond the scope of comprehension.
- I think intelligent life might also like to know what we enjoy watching on TV while relaxing in our homes and eating cream cheese cones.
- Beethoven and Mozart are great, and some of us like that kind of thing, but I feel a more accurate representation of our current musical climate is necessary.
- Of course, no time capsule would be complete without a sampling of the types of films we pay quite of bit of money for the privilege of watching.
- I think aliens would be surprised to know that we now have giant robots that play football on Sundays during the commercial breaks of human games.
- I also believe it's also important to point out that there are very substantial, (often colossal) gaps on our planet between the economically fortunate and somewhat less fortunate inhabitants.
- And when you do something wrong here on Earth and don't show up to a judge to accept your punishment, this man and various members of his unhinged family come looking for you. And they usually find you.
- This is a reasonably basic interpretation of our military philosophy.
- And let's see, we should probably let them know that dogs play a pretty big role here...
- But that we currently have an Egyptian-like obsession with cats.
- And that's about it. Pretty much everything they would need to know before their visit to the big blue marble. Oh and also, be especially cautious of Japan, stay out of Florida, and babies drink beer at Phillies games and that's generally tolerated.
"This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe."
~President Jimmy Carter (Recorded message on board Voyager 1 & 2)