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26 SEPTEMBER 2012

After 35 Years, Voyager Nears Edge of Solar System

"Tucked aboard each Voyager spacecraft was a 12–inch, gold–plated, copper phonograph disc 'containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth,' according to NASA.

Below is a sampling of the 115 images and audio clips, selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. The images were encoded in analog form. The audio was designed to be played at 16 2/3 rpm; a needle, cartridge and symbolic instructions for using the record were also included."

(Nell Greenfieldboyce, 12 September 2012, NPR)

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TAGS

197720th century • Ann Druyan • Carl Sagan • Cornell Universitydeep space probeeating behaviours • extraterrestrial intelligence • golden record • golden records • greetings • immortalise • interstellar probe • Jimmy Carter • Kurt Waldheim • Latin word • morse code • NASANational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNPRPioneer 10 • Pioneer plaque • probesalutationsolar system • Sounds of Earth • spacespace exploration • space probe • Terrestrialtime capsule • Voyager 1 • Voyager 2 • Voyager Golden Record

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
19 FEBRUARY 2004

Mars Pathfinder: Landing On And Examining Mars

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (2003)
Mars Pathfinder landed on the surface of the Red Planet on [...] July 4, 1997, the first vehicle to make a soft landing on Mars since the Viking 1 and 2 craft 21 years earlier. Upon landing, a door of the lander opened and a roving inspection vehicle, called Sojourner, rolled out and immediately began analyzing nearby rocks. [...] Mars Pathfinder relayed some 2.6 billion bits of data back to Earth. This enormous volume of data includes (i) over 16,000 pictures taken by the probe's lander (functioning for a period three–fold its design life), colour images of the Martian sunrise and sunset, images of clouds drifting in the Martian sky, etc, as well as (ii) 550 images taken by the small robot rover "Sojourner" (functioning for a period twelve–fold its design life), (iii) chemical analysis results for 15 specimens of Martian rock and valuable atmospheric data on wind, temperature, etc. The final task performed by the lander was a 360 degree panoramic imaging of the Martian horizon. Communication with the probe was unfortunately lost at a point of 83 percent completion of this image data delivery.

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environmentexplorationhostile place • Mars Pathfinder • Pathfinder • probe • Sojourner • space exploration
01 JANUARY 2004

Pioneer 10: betraying assumed and privileged cultural codes

"We have sent several inscribed messages into space. The two Voyager probes each carry a long–playing record of 'The Sounds of Earth' and both Pioneer craft, the first manmade objects to leave our Solar System, bear plaques charting their route, along with a picture of naked humans waving a greeting. A similar alien salutation could be waiting on Earth for us, says Rose"
(Mark Peplow, Nature News)

Rose C. & Wright G. Nature, 431. 47 – 49(2004).

[On the 3rd of March 1972 NASA launched the Pioneer 10 interstellar probe (spacecraft) into deep space. Attached to it was a plaque designed to communicate something of what it meant to be from Earth. It attempted to present a generalised view of humanity stripped of all cultural and social difference (a normative view). Despite this noble aim the plaque couldn't help but betray its assumed (and privileged) cultural codes. Its focus on Terrestrial life was unmistakably: Human; ethnically Anglo–Saxon (logically North American); heterosexual and 1960s – 70s.]

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