The observable universe is about 14 billions years old and stretches across a diameter of 90 million light years. There are at least one hundred billion galaxies, each with billions of stars. Only recently, we’ve learnt that most stars have their own planetary systems indicating that there are probably trillions and trillions of habitable planets in the universe. Since all the conditions for life to exist elsewhere in the galaxy: water, light, carbon, minerals etc. are abundant, it is fair to assume that life is ubiquitous.
The Fermi Paradox is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and the high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial civilisations. This paradox becomes central to us situating ourselves in the cosmos. The key arguments the paradox makes are that intelligence is extremely rare in the universe and if common, it postulates the reasons for it not having contacted us.
The paradox is not illogical, but unnecessary. If life is very rare, it can nevertheless be very abundant. To say that the earth is unique would be nothing short of egocentric. As a people, we have for most of our history believed that the universe was formed so as to aid human existence. The key question however is whether intelligence is an evolutionary imperative or not.
The earth has been inadvertently leaking its radio and TV signals into space for about 70 years. This radio bubble is a sphere centred on earth, which is the farthest our radio signals have reached; about 200 light years. These aren’t inclusive of the transmissions we have sent on purpose.
Voyager 1, sent out in 1977 is part of the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Information) program. The spacecraft is currently traversing through the interstellar space between our sun and the nearest star, Proxima Centauri. On this Voyager is a Golden Record containing 116 images as well as audio and video recordings of humans, animals, songs and greetings in 55 languages. The vulnerability of the Golden Record is stark, intended for an unknown recipient and likely to survive a billion years into the future when our civilisation has profoundly altered.
Using sound and footage from the Voyager and popular science fiction cinema respectively, the video is inspired by messages for the future. The sound is a compilation of all the 55 greetings on the Golden Record and the imagery is created using footage from various science fiction films.
The video starts with images from the earth on the Record and ends with stills of the earth from the Voyager mapping the significance as well as the futility of contact and the inevitable desire for the same.