These 116 images are hurtling through space at this very second, millions of miles from Earth, toward an unknown destiny.
The mission of Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, launched into space in 1977, was to explore the outer solar system. With an 8-track tape memory system and onboard computers that are thousands of times weaker than a smart phone, the two spacecraft sent back imagery and information about the four gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
But NASA knew that after the planetary tour was complete, the Voyagers would remain on a trajectory toward interstellar space, having gained enough velocity from Jupiter’s gravity to eventually escape the grasp of the sun.
NASA decided they should carry a message from humanity.
The Voyager team tapped famous astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan to compose that message. Sagan’s committee chose a copper phonograph LP as their medium, and over the course of six weeks they produced the “Golden Record”: a collection of sounds and images that will probably outlast all human artifacts on Earth.