Earlier this year, NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 left our solar system after a 35-year journey, carrying with it a golden record containing sounds, images and music from Earth.
Its sister craft, Voyager 2, carries an identical record. The records were designed to encapsulate the aural heritage of Earth in 90 minutes – but some preliminary investigation, however, reveals that there a few inaccuracies in the official NASA documentation about the golden records.
When senior Aboriginal men Djawa, Mudpo and Waliparu gathered one night in 1962 on Milingimbi mission in Arnhem Land for a recording session with Australian anthropologist Sandra Le Brun Holmes, they little dreamt that their music would be heading to the stars on the famous spacecraft.
More than a decade later, American astronomer Carl Sagan put together a committee to discuss a “time capsule” for NASA’s Voyager interstellar mission, to be launched in 1977.
The process of selecting this “world music” is described in Sagan’s book Murmurs of Earth. Many factors determined the final cut: the quality of the recording, cultural diversity, geographic and chronological range.
Written By: Alice Gorman
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