Two years on, a first analysis of the messages submitted in languages from all over the world has revealed that we are collectively hopeful for the future of humankind in the full knowledge of our many failings.
• Almost 20 times more people express feelings of hopethan fear.
• Almost twice as many people reflect on peace than war.
• Thirteen times more people use the world love than hate.
• Twenty-five times more people write messages about friendship than enemies.
• Seven times more people write about life than death.
Christopher Riley launched the project on Facebook and on voyagersfinalmessage.com in 2015. He had first proposed the idea in his 2014 book for Haynes - the Voyager 1 & 2 Owners' Workshop Manual: 1977 Onwards.
Christopher Riley says: “The beauty of asking people to write a short message which speaks for an entire planet is that it compels us to contemplate a bigger picture of what it means to be human. And that exercise still has the power to bring out the best in us.”
https://www.VoyagersFinalMessage.com has until the mid 2020s to gather as many short messages as possible, with the hope of persuading NASA to eventually select one of them forupload to each spacecraft before contact is lost, when onboard electrical power runs out.
Both Voyager 1 and 2 already carry a copy of a specially commissioned Golden Record, which contains music, greetings, sounds and even pictures encoded onto them, with the aim of communicating something of human culture to any extra-terrestrial civilization, which might one day encounter them.
Christopher Riley says: The original motivation for the Voyager Golden Record was to speak to the Cosmos with a single human voice. It was a chance to set our Earthly differences aside and to celebrate our collective humanity. What better time than now remind ourselves of that objective; by crowd sourcing a final message in that same spirit.”
The Facebook app celebrates the Voyager 1 and 2 space probes, and includes information about the Voyager missions, encouraging people to write their own ‘final message’ up to 1000 characters long (about the length of seven tweets). Each message submitted will automatically add the sender’s details to a petition database, which will be presented to NASA in the early 2020s.
To contribute your own final message to the project please visit:
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Notes to Editors
1. The Voyager spacecraft were dispatched from Earth in August and September 1977, flying past the outer planets over the next 12 years before leaving the Solar System to eventually enter interstellar space. Voyager 1 crossed this milestone in August 2012. It is thought that Voyager 2 will also cross this boundary in the coming years.
2. Voyager 2 is the fastest traveling spacecraft, covering more than half a billion kilometers each year. It will take something like 18,000 years to reach the extraordinary milestone distance of one light year from the Sun. In about 296,000 years, it will pass 4.3 light-years (40 trillion km) from the Dog Star Sirius, the brightest star in our sky.
Voyager 1 will reach the Oort Cloud – a sphere of rock and ice fragments gravitationally bound to the Sun - in about 300 years. It will take about 30,000 years to pass through it. Ten thousand years after this, it will pass within 1.6 light-years (14.9 trillion km) of the star Gliese 445; which at present is in the constellation of Camelopardalis.
3. Christopher Riley’s interest in Voyager began as a child. He was 10 years old when the two craft were launched, and their flybys of all the giant planets in the Solar System unfolded as a backdrop to his teenage years. He used Voyager imagery of the moons of Uranus for his undergraduate studies in applied geology at The University of Leicester in the 1980s.
4. Christopher Riley studied for his Ph.D. using Space Shuttle data to map a mountain range in the South of Spain, at Imperial College, London in the 1990s, before joining the BBC’s science department, where he garnered over 100 programme credits. His most recent documentaries won him BAFTA, RTS, Emmy and Grierson nominations. He is currently visiting professor of science and media at the University of Lincoln’s School of Film and Media.
5. Christopher Riley produced and directed the BBC’s acclaimed documentary ‘Voyager – to the final frontier’ which was first broadcast on BBC FOUR in 2012, and has been repeated regularly since. It was nominated for a British Science Writer’s Award in 2013.
6. Christopher Riley’s most recent book for Haynes – an owner’s workshop manual for Voyager 1 & 2 celebrates the Voyager Missions’ extraordinary contribution to space exploration over the past 40 years.
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