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The Voyagers

The Voyagers


– 35 seconds and counting… go.
T minus 20 seconds and counting. Guidance internal, 15, 14, 13… 3, 2, 1 Launch Command go. – And so Voyager 2 is now a part of history, rocketing into space from it’s launchpad here at Cape
Kennedy, on this historic day August 20th 1977. The year before I was born NASA launched two identical spacecraft on what was supposed
to be a two year mission. Nobody knew what would happen. Nobody knew that over 30 years later
they’d still be traveling, a million miles a day, away from the sun, away from everything we know. The Voyagers are now the most distant man made objects in space and their journey will go on literally forever. They’ll probably be the only evidence that
we ever existed. Attached to each Voyager is a gold plated record. A massive compilation of photographs, music and sounds, encrypted into binary code. A picture of a mother nursing her child. An eagle spreading it’s wings. Greetings in over 50 languages and a message from President Carter. Monuments and triumphs of human kind’s
time on Earth. The ultimate mix tape. [Opera music] A valentine, dedicated to the tiny chance
that at some distant time and place we might make contact. Engineers say the record will last a billion years. It wasn’t a surprise to find this was Carl Sagan’s idea. – The earth’s greatest hits. – The story of the golden record is well known,
but most people don’t know that it’s a love story. On June 1st 1977, Annie Druyan,
the creative director of the golden record project, was on the phone with her collaborator Carl Sagan, when her heart stopped.
It was a bolt from absolutely nowhere. It was a bolt from absolutely nowhere. They had never kissed, he was married.
But never mind the circumstances, they were they were in love. And on the phone thousands of miles apart, they agreed to spend the rest of their lives
together. Annie hung up the phone and screamed. ‘It was
a eureka moment,’ she said, ‘I finally understood what it must be like to make a scientific discovery. Two days after the Voyager launch, Carl and
Annie announced their engagement and they were together until he died in 1986. I remember when Carl Sagan died. I was in high school.
I guess you were in college. It’s a game I like to play, imagining you
somewhere out there before we met, wondering where you were all those years.
Like, where were you in 1986? – We have a report from the flight dynamic that the vehicle has exploded, the plane director confirms that we are looking at checking with the recovery forces, what can be done at this point. – Can we cut the cameras? – I didn’t spend my girlhood fantasizing about marriage. Everyone knows the statistics, it seems ridiculous
to expect it to work out. But ultimately you have to ask yourself
how much you hope for. And how much risk you’re
willing to take. – As the Secretary General of the United Nations, I’ve sent greetings on behalf of the people of our planet. We step out of our solar system,
into the universe, seeking only peace and friendship, to teach if we are called upon,
to be told if we are fortunate. And it is with humility and hope that we take this step. The golden record is just a hopeful vision of humanity. No war, no starvation, no divorce
courts some people have criticized this, but I’m glad they did it that way. That’s what
it’s like to look at the thing you love most, That’s why it’s a valentine. The voyagers have found amazing things out there. There are volcanoes and geysers and oceans of ice. Crazy electrical
storms that have raged for centuries. And moons shaped like potatoes. They showed us a universe that was more beautiful than we dared imagine. They didn’t find life; they didn’t find any evidence of life. What if this is it? – Europa!
Another Europa. A black and white picture of a ring of Jupiter! There you go, nice one… – Carl and Annie spent their lives promoting science. They were pretty sure there’s no god. No fate. I read an interview with Annie where she said,
“Carl and I knew we were the beneficiaries of chance. That pure chance could be so kind.
That we could find one another in the vastness of space and the immensity of time.
We knew that every moment should be cherished as the precious and unlikely coincidence that
it was.” Remember Coney Island? We walked on the boardwalk
and talked about marriage. Purely hypothetically.
You said, ‘Marriage is an irrational transaction, an inefficient contract that most people enter blindly, without really knowing the terms, the responsibilities
and risks.’ You also said, ‘The difficulty of dissolving
a marriage, violates the principle of an efficient breach so important contract law.
And what,’ you demanded, ‘is the utility of the state’s involvement?’
This was not a romantic conversation. And when you proposed, I thought about that
conversation and it just made me smile. You’re such a lawyer.
You insist on such old fashioned ideas like, facts and evidence,
and yet you have such wonder, so much hope, so much love.
At this point you’d be asking, what exactly is it that I’m trying to say? Okay. Thousands of millions of years from now, long after our sun burns the earth into
nothing, The Voyagers will still be out there. Rushing at incredible speeds,
into the incredible unknown. Seeking. The Voyagers were only build to last two years, but they surprised everyone. They’re fearless. I wish I had lived in that time, It’s hard
to imagine the golden record being made now. I wish Carl Sagan were here to say ‘You know
what? A thousand billion years is a really long time. No body can know what will happen.
Why not try? Why not reach for something amazing.’ There’s no way to forestall what can’t be
fathomed. No way to guess what hurts we are trying to protect ourselves from.
We have to know in order to love. We have to risk everything.
We have to open ourselves up to contact, even if the possibility of disaster. – Internal 15, 14, 13, 12… -Retro, engines on, go.
– 3, 2, 1, launch command go. [Song lyrics]
The book of love is long and boring No one can lift the damn thing It’s full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing But I…
I love it when you read to me And you
You can read me anything The book of love has music in it In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental Some of it is just really dumb But I I love it when you sing to me And you You can sing me anything The book of love is long and boring And written very long ago
It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes And things we’re all too young to know
But I I love it when you give me things
And you You ought to give me wedding rings
And I I love it when you give me things
And you You ought to give me wedding rings

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