An Interstellar Love note


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Director Ann Druyan and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at the “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” screening at the Paley Center for Media on June 4, 2014 in New York City.

The re-boot of Cosmos is done and all 13 episodes have been broadcast in the US, so it is  wholly appropriate for the LA time to have an article in which Ann Druyan, (Carl Sagan’s wife and co-creator of this new reboot of his immensely popular original series) should look back and ponder over it all.

Within this look back I found this …

Sagan asked her [Ann Druyan] to be creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, a collection of images, music and sounds included on the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes and intended as a message from the inhabitants of planet Earth. Launched in 1977, the spacecrafts are now about 11.8 and 9.7 billion miles from Earth, respectively — as are, presumably, the Golden Records, which contain greetings in 55 languages and music ranging from Peruvian pan pipes to Chuck Berry. (Alas, the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” was too expensive to license, and if Druyan could add any song, it would be Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.”) The project was a “mythic experience” for Druyan. “We were so honored to have this privilege to be sending this message to a thousand million years from now, a quarter of the way around the galaxy. We all looked upon it as something very sacred, creating this Noah’s ark of human culture on the most distant objects ever touched by human hands.”

If curious, then here is a complete list of what is on our message in a bottle that has been launched out beyond our solar system off on a journey into interstellar space for some other intelligent space faring species to find, perhaps right across the galaxy and over a span of a billion years – this may be long after our species has passed. We might not grasp it, but the galaxy will spin on without us, and now also so will our message.

So what would you put in such a message if it had been your choice?

Now what is truly fascinating is that beyond the greetings in 57 different languages, sounds, and music, there is also a recording of human brainwaves, and here is what was recorded

Druyan had an idea for the record: They could measure the electrical impulses of a human brain and nervous system, turn it into sound, and put it on the record. Then maybe, 1,000 million years from now, some alien civilization might be able to turn that data back into thoughts. So, just a few days after she and Sagan declared their love for each other, Druyan went to Bellevue Hospital in New York City and meditated while the sounds of her brain and body were recorded. According to Druyan, part of what she was thinking during that meditation was about “the wonder of love, of being in love.”

Science might give the impression that it is a dull dry topic, but this endeavour has an almost unprecedented degree of poetical aspiration – A young woman records her brainwaves. It consists of her thoughts of love within days of the love of her life asking her to marry him, and then launches it out across the galaxy so that it will live on for billions of years long after our species has passed and gone.

You truly cannot get more poetical than that.

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