These are the Photos NASA Wants Aliens to See

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Yep, you read that right...

NASA puts a lot of thought into its space exploration activities, including pondering the idea that someday, one of their spacecraft might be intercepted by aliens.

Though more recent missions to the likes of Mars, Pluto, and Jupiter have gotten all the attention lately, 40 years ago in 1977, NASA made waves with its Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions.

The point of the Voyager missions was to explore the outer edges of our solar system.

As they flew by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, they sent back incredible images that helped scientists learn more about our neighboring planets.

9141932 orig image NASA's Voyager 1 Spacecraft launches atop its Titan/Centaur-6 launch vehicle on September 5, 1977. Photo by NASA

What makes it even more amazing is the fact that these spacecraft used an 8-track memory system paired with computers that by today's standards would be laughable in the power department.

In fact, your iPhone has more processing power by a wide margin than the computers that ran Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.

Today, if you check the Voyager page on the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Website, you can track how far both spacecraft are from home and explore the science behind the mission of these incredible spacecraft.

pia17462main 8k image This artist's concept depicts NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft entering interstellar space, or the space between stars. Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech

But the fact that Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have reached further into the unknown than any other Earth-bound object has before isn't the only interesting thing about them.

Instead, part of their payload is worth a look...

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When the spacecraft were being designed and built, scientists decided that they should carry some sort of message, just in case they are intercepted by intelligent life as they orbit the Milky Way.

So, they asked renowned astronomer Carl Sagan to come up with something to let any of our unknown neighbors learn a little about us.

record diagram image Photo by NASA/JPL

What Sagan and his committee elected to do is include a copper phonograph LP known as the "Golden Record."

On the LP is a collection of sounds and photos from across the spectrum of humanity.

The graph on the right side of the image above shows how aliens can recover the pictures and sounds from the recorded signals.

In the video above, Vox gives us an inside look at a few of the more interesting elements included on the Golden Record.

Below, I've included a few of the most telling images.

solarsystem image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

Naturally, the goal of including a map of our solar system is to help alien life find us, if they so desire.

solarsystem2 image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

This diagram helps explain the planetary makeup of the Milky Way, including the diameter of each planet and its distance from the sun.

earth image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

Of course, a photo of our home had to be on the Golden Record...

dna image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

Getting a little more personal, Sagan's committee also included diagrams that explain human DNA structure.

anatomy image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

An explanation of human anatomy was also in order.

As you can see in the images presented so far, they are for educational value. There are no images of war, crime, poverty, disease, ideology, or religion included on the Golden Record.

fatherandchild image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

There's photos of human relationships, too, like this one of a father and child. As noted in the screenshot above, this photo shows that we use our eyes for vision.

greatbarrierreef image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

There's photos of iconic landscapes as well, like the Great Barrier Reef.

anseladamstetons image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

And the Grand Tetons...

monument valley image YouTube Screenshot/Vox

And Monument Valley as well.

Both Voyager vessels are flying through space at 35,000 miles per hour.

Yet, despite their astonishing speed, it will be around 40,000 more years before they're closer to another star than the sun. Space is big, folks!

This is just a sampling of the images that someday aliens might find on the Voyager vessels.

Be sure to check out the complete list by watching the full video from Vox at the beginning of the article.

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