What is the Golden iPod? It's a modern version of
Voyager's Golden Record. Launched in the 1970s, the Voyager spacecraft
are now at the edge of the solar system, on the doorstep of interstellar
space itself. Each probe has a gold-coated copper phonograph record
bolted to its side. These records are messages to any alien race
that might run across the Voyagers in their travels. They contain
photographs of Earth; a selection of the world's greatest music;
greetings in 55 human languages and one whale language; the brain
waves of a young woman in love; and salutations from the Secretary
General of the United Nations.
The Golden Records are brilliantly composed. Just one problem:
They are so 70s! Modern pop culture is almost completely
absent from their golden grooves.
A group of high school students in Bishop, California, has decided
to rectify the situation.
"We've got something even better than a Golden Record--a
Golden iPod," says junior Amelia Koske-Phillips.
The Golden iPod has 16 GB of storage, far more than the original
phonographs, with plenty of room for images, video, and music.
"We plan to fill our iPod with the best humanity has to offer--old
and new," says team member Anna Herbst. "Then, if all
goes as planned, we're going to send it to space."
16 GB is a lot of memory, and we need help filliing it. Students
around the world are invited to submit
their ideas. What would you like aliens to learn
about Earth before First Contact? Should we send them Beethoven
... or Lady GaGa? Original art, music, and performance are also
The Golden iPod will travel to Earth orbit onboard a CubeSat
in 2013. Between now and then, we will also send the Golden iPod
to the edge of space in a series of high-altitude balloon flights.
Our first test flight was conducted on Sept. 5, 2012--the 35th
anniversary of the launch of the Voyager 1 probe. Please check
to Sky's Facebook page for images and movies from the flight.
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