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San Domenico School News & Events

Weekly Reflection May 23, 2022
Student art

 

In 1977 NASA sent out the Voyager unmanned spacecraft. Forty years later, it reached the edge of the solar system and became the first human object to venture into the vast emptiness of interstellar space. The Voyager will travel outwards, perhaps for billions of years, outlasting all other evidence of life on earth.
 
A team of scientists were tasked with creating a Golden Record to place on the Voyager. This record would contain sounds and images to represent the diversity of life and culture here on earth. It would become the ultimate artifact of the human experience. Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan led the team creating the record. Along the way they also fell in love.
 
The record contains a message from the UN Secretary General, greetings in 55 languages, the music of Mozart, Indonesian Gamelan, a Blues song by Blind Willie Johnson, the sounds of birds and whales, thunder, a heartbeat, a kiss, a baby crying.
 
In our Wayfinder class, Aran and I play the record for our students. And then we ask them to make their own Golden Record – a collection of messages, songs, sounds, and images that represent what is most essential about the human experience.
 
For the last week, the record has been playing in my classroom. It is beautiful and sort of heartbreaking.  These sounds and songs that arise from our temporal experiences, captured and sent out into the infinite. Long after the last human has walked on earth, this beautiful music, this love letter from earth, will be slowly traveling into the vast emptiness. 
 
Just before the Voyager left our part of the solar system, Carl Sagan requested that it turn and take one final picture. In the photo we see, amidst magnificent veils of darkness, one tiny point of pale blue light, less than a pixel.

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

-  Carl Sagan

With love,
Mirza