Stardust, a short film about Voyager 1

PostPanic director Mischa Rozema’s new short film, Stardust, is a story about Voyager 1 (the unmanned spacecraft launched in 1977 to explore the outer solar system). The probe is the furthest man-made object from the sun and witnesses unimaginable beauty and destruction. The film was triggered by the death of Dutch graphic designer Arjan Groot, who died aged 39 on 16th July 2011 from cancer.

The film’s story centers on the idea that in the grand scheme of the universe, nothing is ever wasted and it finds comfort in us all essentially being Stardust ourselves. Voyager represents the memories of our loved ones and lives that will never disappear.

From a creative standpoint, Rozema wanted to explore our preconceived perceptions of how the universe appears which are fed to us by existing imagery from sources such NASA or even sci-fi films. By creating a generated universe, Rozema was able to take his own ‘camera’ to other angles and places within the cosmos.
Objects and experiences we are visually familiar with are looked at from a different point of view. For example, standing on the surface of the sun looking upwards or witnessing the death and birth of a star  - not at all scientifically correct but instead a purely artistic interpretation of such events.

The Pale Blue Dot
The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers from Earth. In the photograph, Earth is shown as a tiny dot against the vastness of space. The Voyager 1 spacecraft was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of Carl Sagan.
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
      — Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1997

The Pale Blue Dot

The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers from Earth. In the photograph, Earth is shown as a tiny dot against the vastness of space. The Voyager 1 spacecraft was commanded by NASA to turn its camera around and to take a photograph of Earth across a great expanse of space, at the request of Carl Sagan.

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

      — Carl SaganPale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1997

Sound of Earth

The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. The Voyager spacecrafts are not heading towards any particular star, but Voyager 1 will be within 1.6 light years of the star AC+79 3888 in the Ophiuchus constellation in about 40,000 years.

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Sagan and his associates assembled 116 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of birds and whales). To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.

The collection of images includes many photographs and diagrams both in black and white and color. The first images are of scientific interest, showing mathematical and physical quantities, the solar system and its planets, DNA, and human anatomy and reproduction. Care was taken to include not only pictures of humanity, but also some of animals, insects, plants and landscapes. Images of humanity depict a broad range of cultures. These images show food, architecture, and humans in portraits as well as going about their day to day lives. Many pictures are annotated with one or more indications of scales of time, size, or mass. Some images contain indications of chemical composition. All measures used on the pictures are defined in the first few images using physical references that are likely to be consistent anywhere in the universe.

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Los discos de oro de las Voyager son discos de vinilo que se incluyeron a bordo de las dos sondas Voyager, las cuales fueron lanzadas el 1977. Las sondas no se dirigen a ninguna estrella en particular, pero el Voyager 1 estará a 1.6 años luz de la estrella AC+79 3888 en la constelación Ofiuco dentro de 40.000 años

Este disco fue ideado por un comité científico de la NASA presidido por el astrónomo Carl Sagan. Contiene una selección de hora y media de duración de música proveniente de varias partes y culturas del mundo, saludos en 55 idiomas humanos, un saludo del presidente Jimmy Carter y del entonces Secretario General de las Naciones Unidas Kurt Waldheim y el ensayo Sonidos de la Tierra, que es una mezcla de sonidos característicos del planeta. También contiene 115 imágenes (+1 de calibración) donde se explica en lenguaje científico la localización del Sistema Solar, las unidades de medida que se utilizan, características de la Tierra, el ADN humano y las características del cuerpo y la sociedad humana.

Se presto mucha atención a no solo incluir imágenes de la humanidad, sino también de animales, insectos, plantas y paisajes. Las imágenes de la sociedad humana muestran un amplio rango de culturas. Estas imágenes muestran comida, arquitectura, retratos de personas así como fotografías de su día a día. Muchas fotografías muestran anotaciones que indican escalas de tiempo, tamaño o masa. Algunas día contienen indicaciones de las composiciones químicas. Todas las medidas utilizadas en las fotografías son definidas en las primeras fotografías utilizando las referencias físicas mas básicas con mas probabilidad de ser consistentes alrededor del universo.