Hello World

Publication in "Freitag"

Link to the pdf of the article.

Link to the article on the Friday website.

Soundcloud page of NASA, where you can listen to parts of the record.

Official NASA page for the Golden Record

In the 1980s, NASA sent two probes to explore the solar system: Voyager 1 & 2. As it was foreseeable that they would one day leave the solar system and be the first man-made machines to venture into interstellar space, it was decided to send a greeting message in case the aliens found them one day. So they screwed a golden record onto each of the probes, together with a pick-up, a needle and the instructions for the record player. Obviously they wanted to avoid the aliens finding them one day and mistaking them for a strangely scratched golden mirror. I’ve always been a big fan of the “Voyager Golden Records”. One of my favourite parts is the “Greetings From The Secretary General Of The UN”, which declares: “We step out of our solar system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship, to teach if we are called upon, to be taught if we are fortunate… it is with humility and hope that we take this step.” And since that was Dr Kurt Waldheim back then, this speech will now drift through the universe forever in his broad, heavy Austrian English. At least until it is found and, if the aliens assemble the record player correctly, will one day be heard again in the cockpit of a futuristic spaceship. How I would love to be there at that moment, with a big smile on my face… The Voyagers are currently whizzing around somewhere in the middle of nowhere behind Pluto and there are regular arguments about whether they have already left the solar system or not. To bridge the gap until they are found, NASA released parts of the record on “Soundcloud” this year. You can find out why in my little article, which I was allowed to write in the wonderful “Freitag” on this occasion.

… and far from home untouched by these remote events, the Voyagers bearing the memories of a world that is no more – will fly on.

Carl Sagan

Image of the Voyager Golden Record. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

For connoisseurs: a wonderful lecture by Carl Sagan himself about the Golden Record