It’s been 38 years since NASA launched a gold record containing sounds and sights of Earth into space. Yesterday, NASA made it easier to hear those noises for yourself. On Soundcloud.
After joining Soundcloud last year, NASA has uploaded some very interesting audio to its account—from sounds of radio waves in space to Sputnik’s timid beep. But yesterday’s upload is even better: the full audio that the agency sent into space when it launched its Voyager probes in the 1970s. That includes greetings in 55 languages, from Welsh to Urdu, of course, but also the ambient noises that were designed to give listeners a broad acoustic glimpse of life on Earth.
The blare of a train passing by a station:
The softer sounds of crickets and frogs:
A dog barking:
The kiss of a mother and the gurgling and crying of a child:
The tapping of morse code and the long, low horn of a ship passing:
And the clip of a horse’s hooves on pavement:
It’s eerie to imagine hearing these sounds millions of miles from Earth—Voyager 1, after all, is now in a “completely unprecedented” region of space. But it’s also important to remember that even Carl Sagan, who masterminded the golden record, described the project as more important to us humans—it’s a time capsule, he said, not a literal attempt to send a message to aliens. The Onion once satirised the project with a 2012 post: Alien Still Hasn’t Gotten Around To Listening To Whole Voyager Golden Record.
Still, who’s not to say that humans won’t one day intercept the probe and dismantle it, finding a technological medium so outdated it might take years to make it playable again? Either way, it’s a fascinating and oddly calming listen. Check it out here.