From the Voyager to Beacon in the Galaxy: the messages from humans to aliens

Is there anyone out there?
Attempts to make contact
Beacon in the Galaxy
What the message contains
The need for contact
Arecibo
Space probes
Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11
Voyager Golden Record
Little chance of being found
Carl Sagan on the probes
The gold records
The materials included
Greetings
Sounds of the Earth
The Beatles weren't included!
Photographs
Woman at the supermarket
Treaty of Newton
The human race will be immortal
Is there anyone out there?

"Are we alone in this universe?" This is a question that humans have asked repeatedly for nearly as long as we have existed. Fermi's paradox, attributed to physicist Enrico Fermi, speaks to us precisely of this: "Why are no aliens or their artifacts found here on Earth, or in the Solar System?" and "Why do we see no signs of intelligence elsewhere in the universe?"

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Attempts to make contact

So far, it seems that we have not yet received evidence of the existence of alien civilizations. Still, for about 50 years, human beings have been trying to establish contacts or at least send messages across the cosmos precisely to leave traces of our existence.

Beacon in the Galaxy

The latest "message in a bottle" that humans have decided to send to the universe is called 'Beacon in the Galaxy' and will likely be sent in 2023 by the largest telescope in China. It is a message written in binary code and will be transmitted in our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Image by Luminas Art from Pixabay

What the message contains

The message consists of mathematical and physical concepts to establish a means of communication to convey information to intelligent extraterrestrial lives. In addition, digitized images of humans will be included along with an invitation to respond to all alien civilizations that may receive it.

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

The need for contact

'Beacon in the Galaxy' is not the first message that the human race has decided to send across the cosmos. In fact, in the 1970s there were several projects through which we tried to establish contact with aliens.

Photo: Pixabay

Arecibo

Humans sent their first message into space in 1974 through the Arecibo radio telescope towards the globular cluster M13 (about 25 000 light-years away). The message contained stylized figures, images of the telescope, and chemical formulas.

Photo: Wikipedia

Space probes

In 1972 the first space probes, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, were sent with the same purpose of establishing any contact with extraterrestrials. Later in 1977, two more space probes were also sent, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.

Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11

On the Pioneer space probes, there were plaques that depicted a man and a woman without clothes and the sun's position relative to the galaxy's center.

Voyager Golden Record

On the Voyager space probes, the Voyager Golden Record was inserted, a recording that included all sorts of sounds, images, and other evidence of our civilization.

Little chance of being found

Unfortunately, these probes are tiny if we think of them in the immense context of the universe and have a very low probability of being found by another civilization.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Carl Sagan on the probes

Carl Sagan himself, who led this project, said "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space, but the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet."

The gold records

In this sense, the gold discs contained in the Voyager 1 and 2 probes can be considered more of a time capsule than a real attempt to establish contact. Maybe they will be found thousands of years from now as proof of our past existence.

Photo: Wikipedia

The materials included

Of all the messages sent into space, those contained in the gold discs of the Voyager 1 and 2 probes are undoubtedly the most fascinating. All the materials included are an attempt to describe a bit of our world. Let's see some examples.

Photo: Wikipedia

Greetings

The Golden Records contains greetings in 56 different languages ranging from English, French and Italian to Quechua, Urdu and Akkadian.

Photo: Unsplash/Jeremy-Bezanger

Sounds of the Earth

Another fascinating material contained within the Voyager 1 and 2 probes are the sounds of the earth. It is a section of about 90 minutes of music belonging to the different cultures present on our planet. Music such as works by composers such as J.S. Bach,  Mozart, Beethoven (played by the Budapest String Quartet), Chuck Berry, Kesarbai Kerkar, Valya Balkanska, and electronic composer Laurie Spiegel, among others.

The Beatles weren't included!

Carl Sagan also tried to get 'Here Comes the Sun' from the Beatles' Abbey Road album on the record. Although the band agreed their record company, EMI, refused and the song was left out of the Golden Records.

Photographs

Also included in the Voyager Golden Record is a collection of 116 photographs describing life on our planet as well as some details of our solar system and landscapes.

Woman at the supermarket

Among the 116 photos included in the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes is a picture of woman at the supermarket, people eating, a close-up image of Jupiter on which its diameter is also indicated.

Photo: Wikipedia

Treaty of Newton

Page 6 from Isaac Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica Volume III, De mundi systemate (On the system of the world) is also included on the golden record.

Photo: Wikipedia

The human race will be immortal

In short, from the Voyager space probes to the last message 'Beacon in the Galaxy', the goal remains the same: to leaving evidence of our existence so that in the distant future possible extraterrestrial lives can learn about our history and make the human race in some way immortal.

Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash

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