Voyager 1 and 2 will reach 40 years of operation and exploration later this month and in early September. Despite their distance, they continue to communicate with NASA daily and are still exploring the final frontier.
Lisa Kaltenegger is the director of the Carl Sagan Institute and professor of astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University. Kaltenegger remarks on the beauty the Voyager spacecraft exposed to the world, and why the Golden Record continues to have an impact beyond science.
“The Voyager spacecraft showed us the incredible beauty of our solar system and gave us a glimpse into the secrets of the planetary system we call home. Besides the daring exploration of our solar system, Voyager 1 made a snapshot of our own planet – our ‘pale blue dot.’ This image is breathtaking. Our ‘pale blue dot’ is suspended in the vast darkness of space. It is beautiful, fragile, thought provoking and it is home.
“The Golden Record is a frozen moment in time, encompassing the world. It reminds us of all the amazing achievements of humankind and that among all conflict in this world, the beauty we create is mesmerizing. It is humankind's message to space – a time capsule of our culture traveling between the stars, and a message that will outlive us all. The impact the Golden Record has is vast, and well beyond science.
“We have already found thousands of worlds orbiting other suns and some that could be like our own ‘pale blue dot’, maybe even more colorful. The next step is to find out how we fit into this fascinating universe and whether we are alone in the universe.”