Send a #MessageToVoyager to Celebrate the Spacecraft's 40 Years in Space

Fagjun | Published 2017-09-01 10:11

Image by NASA

 

Have you ever been told to reach for the stars? Well, you can now with just a single hashtag. NASA has asked people to send a short and sweet [#MessageToVoyager](https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/message/), which has the chance of reaching the [Voyager](https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/) spacecraft—and beyond.

 

Voyager 1 and 2 are embodiments of one of humanity's greatest achievements. The spacecraft are our longest-lived, and they've also reached the farthest. In spite of their great distance from Earth, they still continue to communicate with and send information to NASA.

 

NASA launched Voyager 1 on September 5, 1977. The spacecraft is now about 20 billion kilometers from Earth, and is so far the only spacecraft to have reached [interstellar space](https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/interstellar/en/). Voyager 2, meanwhile, launched on August 20, 1977 and is now about 18 billion kilometers from Earth. It is the only craft to have flown by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, the four outermost planets of our solar system. Both spacecraft have accomplished and discovered quite a lot in the decades they've spent in space.

 

From the Golden Record to #MessageToVoyager

Voyager spacecraft structure vector

 

As the longest-lived spacecraft, Voyager 1 and 2 have seen quite a lot. For example, Voyager 1 was the first to witness lightning on a planet aside from Earth. Voyager 2, meanwhile, discovered multiple new moons orbiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Voyager 1 in particular has gone to interstellar space, or the space between the stars. In a few years, Voyager 2 will arrive in interstellar space as well.

 

The people behind Voyager made the spacecraft as hardy and durable as can be. Both Voyager 1 and 2 have extensive protection against radiation, which was necessary for its mission to Jupiter and beyond. The spacecraft also had advanced engineering and programming that made many of Voyager's missions possible. There are only a few missions that can match Voyager's achievements so far. Even when many other missions begin to measure up to Voyager's standards, Voyager will still and forever will be a pioneering mission.

 

Both Voyager 1 and 2 also carry the famous [Golden Record](https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/golden-record/). The Golden Record is a 12-inch phonograph that contains sights and sounds intended to represent the cultural and biological diversity of life on Earth. It's a time capsule of sorts, as well as a message for any intelligent extraterrestrial life that may come across it.

 

Humanity, in 60 Characters Max

The Golden Record [Image by NASA/JPL]

 

A long time from now, the Earth will be gone, and who knows where we'd be. Voyager, however, would presumably still be going on, floating into the vast unknown. The hashtag #MessageToVoyager is thus a way for a lucky person to send a personal message to our interstellar ambassador. NASA has asked for short, uplifting messages and will select one to beam up to Voyager. The deadline is on August 15, and a public vote will choose the winning message beginning on August 23. NASA will then send the message off to space on September 5.

 

Thus, you might want to take a crack at sending a nice, uplifting message to the universe. Just remember to include the hashtag #MessageToVoyager in you tweet or Facebook or Instagram post. If your message wins, it'll be representing the whole of humanity, past, present, and future. Try to make us look good.

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