January 25, 2021

The second message of humanity to aliens reaches interstellar space | Science

The second message of humanity to aliens reaches interstellar space | Science


For the second time in history, an object manufactured by humans has reached interstellar space, as announced today by NASA. The probe Voyager 2, launched by the US space agency on August 20, 1977, crossed the past 5 November the heliopause, the limit in which the solar wind joins the stellar wind from other stars. The Voyager 1, which took off days after his sister, went beyond this border on August 25, 2012.

Both probes carry "a kind of time capsule destined to communicate a history of our world to aliens", in the words of NASA. They are two copper phonograph records covered in gold, which convey sounds of birds and other animals and 115 coded images, like photographs of a woman breastfeeding a child, a car jam in Thailand and primatologist Jane Goodall surrounded by chimpanzees.

Photo encoded on the 'Voyager' disc.
Photo encoded on the 'Voyager' disc.

The content of the message, chosen by a committee led by the American astronomer Carl Sagan, included greetings in 55 languages ​​and a selection of world songs, such as the Mexican The bell, interpreted by Lorenzo Barcelata and his mariachis; Melancholy Blues, by Louis Armstrong; and the Fifth symphony of Beethoven.

The probe Voyager 2 – Initially designed for a five-year mission to Jupiter and Saturn – is about 18,000 million kilometers from Earth, but its messages continue to reach our planet, with a lag of 16 and a half hours. The device, unlike the Voyager 1, has an operating instrument on board that detects the solar wind around it. Since November 5, the ship has not observed this flow in its environment, so mission scientists assume that it has left the heliosphere, the region of space under the influence of the solar wind. The signs of the Voyager 2 they are received in the Complex of Communications with the Deep Space of the town of Robledo de Chavela, Madrid, as well as in two other facilities in the US and Australia.

None of the two Voyager has left the solar system, underlines NASA it's a statement. The US space agency says that the limit of the solar system is beyond the Oort Cloud, a set of objects that is still under the influence of the force of gravity produced by the Sun. Voyager 2 It will take about 300 years to reach the Oort Cloud and about 30,000 more years to cross it.

"The spacecraft will be found, and the disc will be reproduced, only if there are advanced civilizations capable of traveling through interstellar space. But the launch of this bottle to the cosmic ocean sends a hopeful message about life on this planet, "said Carl Sagan four decades ago.

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