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Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record Hardcover – October 12, 1978


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st ed edition (October 12, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394410475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394410470
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Sagan was Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft expeditions to the planets, for which he received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement. Dr. Sagan received the Pulitzer Prize and the highest awards of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation, and many other awards, for his contributions to science, literature, education, and the preservation of the environment. His book Cosmos (accompanying his Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning television series of the same name) was the bestselling science book ever published in the English language, and his bestselling novel, Contact, was turned into a major motion picture.

Customer Reviews

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I have found the book in libraries and have acquired the CDs through an inter-library loan.
Lee Richey
This was a fascinating and crucial scientific question for which several very creative solutions were offered, and all are recorded in this book.
James Arvo
Carl Sagan was one of the most thoughtful and charismatic scientists of the twentieth century.
Roger D. Launius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
With recently announced initiatives directing us to space exploration once again, and with probes currently investigating the Martian surface, it is worthwhile to look back at a piece of history in the first great era of planetary exploration, whose heyday is arguably the journeys of Voyager I and Voyager II, the last great interplanetary probes to make a grand tour of several (in fact, most) of the planets in our solar system. Considering the difference in technology in our daily lives from the 1970s to the present, it is remarkable indeed that people were able to get such results and spectacular findings from spacecraft that by today's technical standards would be considered substandard and behind-the-times. Yet the Voyager spacecraft had more than just a tour of the home worlds in mind -- unlike most craft humankind has sent into space, these were not planned to return to earth, crash into an atmospher, or get locked into an everlasting orbit of the sun. These were intentionally sent out into interstellar space, beyond the confines of our solar system. One has to wonder, since it will be at least 40,000 years before these craft encounter even the next nearest star on their trajectories, and even if humanity is still around, the transmitters on the Voyager won't be functional -- why send them?
The answer is contained in the attachments to the spacecraft. Each of the two Voyagers was equipped with a record player of sorts (remember those?) and gold-plated copper disc of recordings, including greetings from earth.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
With recently announced initiatives directing us to space exploration once again, with the space shuttle again in orbit, and with the recent announcement of a tenth planet discovered, it is worthwhile to look back at a piece of history in the first great era of planetary exploration, whose heyday is arguably the journeys of Voyager I and Voyager II, the last great interplanetary probes to make a grand tour of several (in fact, most) of the planets in our solar system. Considering the difference in technology in our daily lives from the 1970s to the present, it is remarkable indeed that people were able to get such results and spectacular findings from spacecraft that by today's technical standards would be considered substandard and behind-the-times. Yet the Voyager spacecraft had more than just a tour of the home worlds in mind -- unlike most craft humankind has sent into space, these were not planned to return to earth, crash into an atmospher, or get locked into an everlasting orbit of the sun. These were intentionally sent out into interstellar space, beyond the confines of our solar system. One has to wonder, since it will be at least 40,000 years before these craft encounter even the next nearest star on their trajectories, and even if humanity is still around, the transmitters on the Voyager won't be functional -- why send them?

The answer is contained in the attachments to the spacecraft. Each of the two Voyagers was equipped with a record player of sorts (remember those?) and gold-plated copper disc of recordings, including greetings from earth.
Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James Arvo on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you had to sum up what Earth is like, what would you say? How would you describe the abundance and diversity of life? How would you summarize all the achievements of mankind? Now, suppose that you were asked to communicate this information to someone who does not speak your language, nor indeed any language that you have ever heard of. Suppose, further, that your audience is apt to interpret pictures, sounds, or symbols in ways that you could not even begin to anticipate. Finally, suppose that this communication must take place via a "message in a bottle", sent off into space, to wash up on some distant "shore", at some inconceivably distant time in the future.
Does this sound far fetched? Well, it shouldn't. This very exercise was carried out in the mid-seventies by a team of scientists with a unique opportunity to send such a message off into space on a pair of spacecraft; the two Viking probes, launched in 1977, that were deployed to explore Jupiter and Saturn. On each of the probes was a gold-plated "phonograph record" that contained a succinct summary of Earth and humanity. The significance of these particular probes was that they were destined to head off into boundless space at the conclusion of their mission. Thus, they were to become the first man-made artifacts to leave the solar system. This was too fantastic an opportunity to miss; "we" (humans) simply had to send a greeting card to whomever/whatever may find the probes.
This book lists and discusses all of the images, sounds, diagrams, and symbols that are recorded on the cosmic greeting cards. There are images of sea shells, plants, trees, insects, buildings, mountains, machines, and most of all, people: people dancing, laughing, talking, eating, and working. There are even cross-sectional illustrations of human anatomy.
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