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Are we alone?

>> Thursday, July 12, 2007

Are we alone? This is the question yet to be answered by scientists.

Here is the Earth seen from four billion miles away. The Earth is a dot suspended in a beam of sunlight (pinpointed by artificial blue circle). Check out Wikipedia’s article about the Pale Blue Dot.

On February 14th, 1990 the Voyager I spacecraft turned around and took the now famous “Pale Blue Dot” picture. The spacecraft, at the time, was about 4 billion millions away when it it took the picture. This was the first time man ever saw our Earth from this vantage point.

The Voyager spacecrafts (both I and II) also carry a “golden record”. This record contains images and sounds that were selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. Space being so vast, I will take about 40,000 years to come near another star. I do however think it is interesting that a part of us is floating out in space.

The contents of the record were selected by Carl Sagan. They picked out 115 pictures and a variety of sounds such as wind, animal sounds, and thunder. They also added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from in 55 languages. President Jimmy Carter was also asked to include a message. Below is the message he included on the record.

We cast this message into the cosmos… Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some — perhaps many — may have inhabited planets and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of Galactic Civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.

The included list of languages is as followed

* Akkadian, Amoy (dialect of Min Nan), Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian
* Bengali, Burmese, Cantonese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German
* Ancient Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hittite, Hungarian, Ila (Zambia)
* Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latin, Luganda, Mandarin Chinese
* Marathi, Nepali, Nguni, Nyanja, Oriya, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi
* Quechua, Rajasthani, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Sotho, Spanish, Sumerian
* Swedish, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, and Wu


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