We decoded NASA’s messages to aliens by hand


In 1977, twin golden records were sent into space on the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Still sailing through space at nearly 60,000 km per hour, the records contain sound, songs, and images from earth. But how did NASA include images on an analog record? Here, we decoded the audio, and see the images the way that aliens were intended to see them.

Video by: Cory Zapatka, William Poor, Sophie Erickson
Graphics: Alex Parkin
Audio: Andrew Marino
Executive Producers: Nilay Patel, Eleanor Donovan
Director of Audience Development: Ruben Salvadori
Social Media Manager: Dilpreet Kainth
General Manager: Stephen Belser
Network Development: Sarah Bishop Woods
Thanks to: Alessandra Potenza, Ron Barry

Special thanks to Ron Barry for walking us through his own audio decoding process, which got us excited in the story over a year ago. You can read about his own adventure and watch his process produce results in real-time in his own video in the links below:

Link to Manuel’s code on GitHub:

Link to the full audio data:

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Source: cuocdoidanghien.com

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  1. Should have done one with a rick roll on the disk. Humans could still get one last rick roll off millions of years after our extinction.

  2. This may be possible because most of the time travellers has this prophecy that in august 2028, aliens will be here on earth.

  3. https://youtu.be/EWYDSqKISYw
    Hi im having a hard time decoding symbolic messages from different dimensions. But here's the symbols anyway.

  4. I would have also sent physical color photos encased in strong glass transparent casing…hence no coding, no deciphering…just seeing and hopefully reaching Earth.

  5. Just an opinion. Giving out your address to somebody you don't know is scary also letting them know you have resources that you depend to survive. Just an opinion.

  6. Would you send me information about your resources and your adress?
    See? That’s exactly what we just did with that disc…

  7. What on earth is this? Literally. I would consider myself to have an average IQ, yet I couldn’t imagine cracking the code, so what makes you think these evolved aliens could especially when they have not successfully attempted to reach us?

  8. Sped requires seconds which is human so alien won’t be able to decide they probably have different time measurement techniques

  9. We've invented algebra, calculus and geometry etc to describe things but what if they use a totally different mathematical structure and cant decode it? Those muppets should have painted the spacecraft in different images


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