Andrea and I sat the kids down this evening and introduced them to the concept of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes which were launched by NASA in 1977 on a mission to leave Earth’s solar system. And we talked about the challenging idea of loading these probes with information documenting every important characteristic of humanity and recording all of the most monumental events in Earth’s history in just 116 photos and a handful of musical tracks.
“How could you possibly do that?” my kids marveled. “What would you even include?”
I shrugged along with them. It felt impossible. So, I looked up a list of the ‘Music from Earth’ that was placed on board the probe. “Okay, so the first thing on the list is Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F.” I told them.
“Alright. What does that sound like?” Lydia asked.
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “I guess I could look it up though.”
I started to do a few searches, but after a few tries, I was having some trouble finding what I was after. “That’s weird… I can’t Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. I can only find Concerto No. 1.”
There was a snort behind me on the couch from where Clara was sitting. “Uh… Yeah, Dad. You’re not going to find it. They shot it into space, remember?”
I shook my head. That’s right. What a pity that we will never know what all of our best music sounds like because we gathered it all up and carelessly launched it into the dark oblivions of space. Now only some futuristic alien race can listen to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, and “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin,” sung by Valya Balkanska from Bulgaria. Completely lost. We can only imagine what Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” must have sounded like. I bet it was great.
Anyway, Dear Aliens from the Future, I hope you enjoy listening to our nerdy human mixtape. I’m sorry we sent you so many Peruvian panpipes when we could have thrown in a Beatles track or some Dylan.