From the Designer of Voyager’s Golden Record: a 21st century message to the cosmos

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Jon Lomberg, Emmy Award-winning  astronomical artist became famous for his many collaborations with Carl Sagan including the original Cosmos series and the creation of the iconic Voyager Interstellar Record, is working to create a message from Earth to the Cosmos for the 21st century, the message will be uploaded to the New Horizons Spacecraft which is currently a few months away from Pluto and will be leaving the solar system after it passes the icy moon. The original Voyager Golden Records are gramophone records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them.

Jon Lomberg served as Design Director for the original Voyager Interstellar Record, and according to the project’s blog, originally conceived the New Horizons Message as a sort of Voyager Record 2.0. “The world is much changed since the 1977 launch of the two Voyager spacecraft – now leaving the solar system behind as they enter interstellar space . In the summer of 2013 Lomberg decided it was time for a twenty-first century message.”

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Jon formed the The One Earth Message Foundation which is the lead organization for the financing, creation, and development of the Message.  Lomberg is Project Director and works closely with the Advisory Board ( a collection of 80 scientists and innovators from around the world”. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California San Diego is the academic base of the project, for the research, design, construction, and operation of the project website where content submissions will be entered and judged. This process will be led by Dr. Albert Yu-Min Lin, a world leader in the growing field of crowd-sourced science.

The original Voyager Record was created by a small, select team, working quickly and in private to meet the Voyager launch deadline. The Record contains some 188 pictures, 27 musical selections, and the voices of whales, humans, and other citizens of our planet.

The new project is not an official NASA project, yet. The One Earth Foundations welcomes corporate, foundation, and individual donations. They are also working on Kickstarter  fundraising campaign to raise the funds for the next three years.

So what will the new message look like?

According to One Earth Foundation’s website; “Based on bandwidth and New Horizons onboard computers, we think we could send pictures and sounds as we did on the Voyager Record and perhaps new kinds of files as well, such as software, 3D files and whatever other good ideas the world’s creative minds can suggest. Our technical team will research the many issues involved and determine the possible form and contents. The challenge will be to create the richest and most durable message possible that is also as easy as possible for hypothetical ETs to decode.”

 

Want to be apart of this effort? The One Earth Foundation’s goal is to hold a worldwide search for the specific pictures and other materials to send. Finalists will be selected by online voting in various categories of content. The resulting message will have been crowd-sourced from people around the world, creating a self-portrait of Earth in the second decade of the 21st Century.

 

 

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