One of the challenges for SpaceApps was that of Voyager – if we were to send up another one, what would we send on it? What do we think shows what humanity is, and how do we show it in such a way that doesn’t assume the same history and knowledge that we Earth-people unconsciously absorb as we grow up?
The Voyager Golden Record was an incredible thing. It’s possible to visually see patterns and differences on the surface of vinyl, and that translates to audio waves in the air. The info graph of how to play the record has nothing to do with language. The original Golden Record was sent by Carl Sagan and others, and included things such as greetings in many languages, sounds of Earth, and music (more at wikipedia). I asked the crew at San Francisco’s SpaceApps Challenge what they would send. Here’s what I got back:
(full image available here, for the zooming. Yes I know it’s not a great camera. But there you are). And my personal double-take, lmao:
Suggestions from Twitter may have included figures from political parties and/or the person sending the tweet.
My own brain has taken me back to a book I finished recently, The Information: A Theory, A History, A Flood. I wonder about a Rosetta Stone to encase many different languages. How can we get from that to machine code? Could we send up programs to build 3D printers, and from there build replicas of our cities and our tools? Would that just be rebuilding the Primer for aliens? I’m told this is far too complicated and inaccessible.
What do you think are the points of humanity that absolutely should be expressed? How would you express it?