...Addition to Rant...
I couldn't find a transcript of Carters message on line, so I mailed Cornell university ( who have a good website with a tool for submitting astronomy type questions) to ask if they had it anywhere, anyway here is what I wrote:
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2002 10:36:39 -0400 > To: firstname.lastname@example.org >
Subject: question submitted via web form > >
Hi, My name is eekers, I am an IT professional just starting to become astro-curious :o) At the moment I am looking at Voyager, and am interested in the copper disk it contains, telling people about life on earth. I am hoping given Carl Sagan's connection with Cornell, you might be the best people to ask this question to!!!
The Nasa sites have been very useful but I have spent ages looking for a transcript of what Pres. Jimmy Carter says on it? I don't suppose anyone has a book with it in, or knows a good website I have missed?
Thanks for your help, Eekers.
I then got this fantastic email back, which I shall share with you, partly 'cos its interesting, and partly to encourage you to send emails to people asking what they know about stuff. Researching on line is a lot easier than I can remember "sending letters" to people was? I never got a response to letters, but emails seems a different matter entirely. Anyway here is what Britt said -
'Fraid I couldn't work any special Sagan connections, but here's the info I could extract from a search engine.
This appears to be the full text: "This Voyager spacecraft was constructed by the United States of America. We are a community of 240 million human beings among the more than 4 billion who inhabit the planet earth. We human beings care still divided into nation states, but these states are rapidly becoming a single global civilization. "We cast this message into the cosmos. It is likely to survive a billion years into our future, when our civilization is profoundly altered and the surface of the Earth may be vastly changed. Of the 200 million stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some-perhaps many-may have inhabited planets and spacefaring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: "This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. we are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe. Jimmy Carter President of the United States of America THE WHITE HOUSE June 16,1977."
I found it here: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/english/courses/dilligan/projectsSp2000/aliencontact/president.html Not an authoritative source, I realize, and I couldn't find it anywhere else on the Web, in its entirety, unfortunately.
I meant to grab a copy of "Murmurs of Earth," by Sagan et al., which is the definitive book about the Voyager record, to see if it included the full text of the message, but, after I hoofed it across campus, I found that in BOTH libraries that are supposed to have copies, there's a gap on the shelf, and the books are AWOL--not checked out, not part of a 10th Anniversary display or anything like that. So much for special connections! If you want, I can initiate a search for the volumes in the CU libaries, and they may be found if they've been misplaced (rather than stolen!) I could also beat the bushes around the department and see if anyone's got a personal copy.
You can also try to find "Murmurs" yourself. Unfortunately, it's out of print, but you could check a local library. It's a pretty neat passage! I thought it was interesting that Carter saw the world as drawing together into a global entity rather than remaining divided into nation-states. That's an idea that's pervasive in science fiction, but the notion is usually is treated with great suspicion in contemporary politics! (How long has it been since the U.S. paid its UN dues?) Anyway, very interesting question. Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance. Le me know if you want me to try a search for the book. And let me know if you find it, too!
"Physics tells us, that for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction. They hate us, we hate them, they hate us back. And so, here we are, victims of mathematics."
Londo Mollari, Babylon 5, "A Voice In The Wilderness"
So I got a nice letter off Britt, which should naturally lead me into a rant about the U.S. but I fear sounding anti-american, and while I despise some of what makes America soooo American, its no more or less so than how much I hate some of what makes the English English. Can you imagine Bush doing a speech now? Can you imagine the U.N. even being mentioned? I don't think I can personally get my head around him saying anything without the term " Weapons of Mass Destruction" being included. So, while I may be scathing about Carter, perhaps it is a saving grace that it isn't Bush.
Dear Aliens, My name is president Bush, I am the worlds president and everyone bows before my tyranny,. If you harbour weapons of world destruction please aim them at the following countries, 'cos they just wont agree with my morals, principles and politics.....
I fear the Aliens contacting the U.S. ,as Voyager builders, planning to find the sentiment with which the message on Voyager intended to convey, may find something very different. I fear that is far gone now.