Thu, 14 Feb 2013 15:00:00 PST
1UP COVER STORY
1UP COVER STORY | WEEK OF FEBRUARY 11 | IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE!
liens have been picking up our radio waves for years. The further away from Earth they are, the older the songs they're listening to. This was illustrated nicely in the opening scene of the 1997 film Contact--as the camera pulls away from Earth, traveling the length of the galaxy, recordings from earlier and earlier in human history play out. The soundtrack goes from Spice Girls to A Flock of Seagulls to, at Venus, Nixon's "I'm not a crook" speech. Rag time jazz and old-timey radio ads fizzle out to nothing by the time we reach the Eagle Nebula.
Director Robert Zemeckis may have taken some artistic liberties with that scene, but it nevertheless raises an interesting question: how would extraterrestrials interpret our culture? The Voyager space ships that were launched in 1977 each carry a Golden Record that contains sounds and images meant to convey the fabric of our world to alien life forms in the distant future. A message from then-president Jimmy Carter reads:
"This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe."