Hello Uranium Nations

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1. Uranium Nations

Electroplated onto on the Voyager Record was an ultrapure source of uranium, whose half-life (4.51 billion Earth years) was meant to aid future extraterrestrials in dating the spacecraft. Instead, one extraterrestrial examiner seems to have decided that the speed of sound in uranium — 3,155 meters per second (at 293.15 Kelvin) — constituted the information intended by inclusion of the element, a clue, they surmised, about the medium in which to play the record. This selection, perhaps something of a soundcheck, plays back the Voyager greetings of Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the UN in 1977, and appears intended for audition in a uranium atmosphere. Human ears in such a setting (in which sound travels 9.27 times faster than it does in Earthly air) would be unable to discern stereo separation; sound would be omniphonic, seeming as though it were arriving from everywhere. The best way to listen to this short segment, which actually plays simultaneously with the following piece, is by wearing headphones just above, but not on, the ears, to maximize bone conduction.

All recordings following have been corrected for audition in Earth’s atmosphere.

1. Hello Children

An alien transcription device plays the Brandenburg Concerto that opens Voyager’s musical program while the extraterrestrials deliver English-language greetings apparently spliced together from human salutations.