My good friend invited me to watch “Inflatable Space.” What, you don’t know what it is? The same expression you have now is exactly how I felt then. Huh? The event description reads as follows: “Two NASA technicians of the Voyager satellite get lost in a universe of inflatables, vacuum cleaners, miniatures and microphones, in this cinematic adventure.” Double huh?!?! I see the words NASA, Voyager and space, and being a semi aficionado (only in my mind) of the field, I decided to go.
It turns out to be a performance art created by Thaddeus Phillips, with two people working with costumes, props, projectors, lights, etc. to convey the story of NASA’s Voyager satellite since it left Earth in 1977 until now. Although a bit difficult to explain to someone who was not there, it was artistic, creative, informative, thoughtful and cool event, and I would recommend you to see it live (details later).
Afterwards I realized that I did not know much about this event, and although I was alive in 1977 (although a child and living in another country), for some reason I did not know. As soon as I got home, I googled all I could about this mission, and it turns out there are two satellites, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, which left Earth in 1977 with different missions and trajectories. Voyager 2 flew close to Jupiter (1979), Saturn (1981), Uranus (1986) and Neptune (1989), and both of them then left our galaxy in 2018 and are now flying into empty space, where there is NOTHING to stop them. So they could be going for millions of years until someone finds them, alien civilization or future Earthlings.
The other cool thing I learned is about the Golden Record. This is as cool as it sounds, maybe even cooler! It is a record made from gold that contains 115 images describing people and Earth, greetings from people from Earth in 55 languages, sounds from earth (nature, animals, machinery, and humans), and music from several genres. The purpose is for whoever finds the Golden Record, to know more about humans, and how we lived, thought, felt, etc. So this is basically a time capsule or a message in a bottle sent into space. I told you it was cool!
One photo taken by one of the satellites shows a tiny dot, which is Earth, seen since the farthest edges of our galaxy. Carl Sagan commented how all our history and everyone who has ever existed has been contained in this tiny dot, how is basically insignificant when compared to the immensity and timelessness of the Universe, and how we should be kinder to each other.
I would also add that we should also be kind to ourselves, since we will not be here forever, neither will be our children, or our children’s children. So in the few years that we have (compared to the Universe), let’s live our life in a meaningful way so that we can grow ourselves, help our fellow humans, and do the best to continue the human race as much as possible. We do not want our only remaining memories to be contained in a gold disk.
So go experience that play and let me know what you get from it. Oh, and when your friends invite you to an event that sort of doesn’t make much sense, don’t ask a million questions, trust them and go. More often than not, there will be a lesson to be learned, but not in the way that you expect!
- To know more about Inflatable Space, click here. To know more about Thaddeus Phillips, go here.
- To find out about Voyager missions, click here, and Golden Record, go here.