Forty years ago, NASA launched two Voyager spacecraft into deep space. Onboard both were gold discs with music, greetings and sounds from Earth — a message to aliens. Ann Druyan, the creative director of the project, talks about how they decided what message to put in the interstellar bottle.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft will soon have a new territory to explore—interstellar space. Voyager chief scientist Ed Stone discusses whether the spacecraft will have a bumpy exit from the solar system, and the chances Voyager's golden record may someday be intercepted by an advanced space-faring civilization.
GUESTS Ed Stone Chief Scientist, Voyager Professor, Physics California Institute of Technology Pasadena, California
NASA has always pushed boundaries in big science and big technology. Right now, NASA (partnering with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency) is building, assembling, and testing the largest telescope to ever be launched into space: the James Webb Space Telescope. As the scientific successor to the beloved Hubble Space Telescope, JWST will explore uncharted territories in the first epoch of galaxy formation—a part of our Universe never seen before. JWST will also have the amazing capability to study exoplanet atmospheres in unprecedented detail. This is possible due to innovative technologies that push the boundaries of what is capable for spacecraft.
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Forty years ago, NASA sent two spacecraft into space with images and recordings from Earth. To test whether aliens would be able to hear them, scientists ran the messages by animals, as proxies.
NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly Monday directly over the Great Red Spot, a swirling storm on Jupiter. Scientists are hoping to gain a better understanding of the storm and why it persists.
More than 30 years ago, Robert Farquhar stole a spacecraft.
Now he's trying to give it back.
The green satellite, covered with solar panels, is hurtling back toward the general vicinity of Earth, after nearly three decades of traveling in a large, looping orbit around the sun.
If Farquhar, a former mission design specialist for NASA, gets his way, the agency will command the spacecraft to fire its thrusters, veer close to the moon, and slip back into the spot where it was intended to be when it was launched in 1978 — and where it was when Farquhar and his accomplices "borrowed" it.
The new vehicle, named Orion, is designed to carry humans into deep space. But most Americans aren't aware it exists.
Imagine being an astronaut and planning for a space mission you know you have no chance of joining; a journey that won’t even happen in your lifetime, or possibly even your children’s. We meet the long-term thinkers and planners – the space visionaries not afraid to think outside the square.
NASA astronaut Don Pettit spent nearly six months aboard the International Space Station and elected to spend his off-duty time performing science experiments of his own design. Pettit talks about life in space and some of the gadgets he invented while he lived there.
Engineers attaching the Golden Record to the Voyager spacecraft. Credit: NASALess than a year before NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft were scheduled for takeoff, astronomer Carl Sagan and SETI researcher Frank Drake received an intriguing proposal from the space agency: Would they be interested in crafting a message to alien civilizations to accompany Voyager on its interstellar journey? Over the next nine months, Sagan, Drake, and a small team of scientists and artists scrambled to compile a unique document—part time capsule, part interstellar greeting—to send to the stars. The Golden Record was born.
Over the next three weeks, Science Friday is celebrating the legacy of the Golden Record, in anticipation of Voyager’s 40th anniversary next year. And we’re asking you: What would you include on a Golden Record? (Click on the image below to tell us!)
The Golden Record, front and back. Credit: NASAThis week, we explore the Golden Record’s history with two of its creators. Ann Druyan was the creative director for the record project (she would go on to co-write COSMOS: A Personal Voyage with her husband Carl Sagan). And Drake, author of the Drake equation, helmed the record’s picture sequence. Together, they join Ira to remember those frenzied months when they compiled the Golden Record—a “best of” collection of science, art, and ingenuity.