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Here's how Carl Sagan ensured that legend Chuck Berry's music would exist for billions of years to come

Chuck Berry received a letter from Carl Sagan on his 60th birthday and it addresses how his hit track 'Johnny B. Goode' will last billions of years and more.

Here's how Carl Sagan ensured that legend Chuck Berry's music would exist for billions of years to come
Cover Image Source: American musician Chuck Berry (1926 - 2017) performs at Madison Square Garden in New York City, for the concert movie 'Let the Good Times Roll', May 1972. (Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

People know Carl Sagan as the famous astronomer and science communicator who became a household name after starring in his television program "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage." Sagan was also known for his research to find the possibilities of extraterrestrial life outside our known solar system. However, only a few people know about his connection to famed rock 'n' roll icon Chuck Berry. Berry passed away in 2017, but his music will transcend time and space to live on forever, all thanks to the involvement of Sagan, per Inc.



 

Back in 1977, the United States launched two unmanned Voyager spacecraft to explore the deep space where human lifeform still couldn't reach. The people behind the program hoped these two vessels had better chances of encountering some form of extraterrestrial life if it existed out there. In this project, Sagan and a team of fellow scientists packed various images and sounds in the vessels and sent them to space in the hopes of helping extraterrestrial beings understand the existence of mankind.



 

The team included images of humans eating, drinking and indulging in daily activities, with various landscapes, DNA and even a page of writings by Sir Isaac Newton. They also sent audio samples of whale sounds, an hour-long recording of the PBS' "Cosmos" producer Ann Druyan's brain waves, music samples of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and several other composers and various genres of music. Songs like "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" by Blind Willie Johnson and "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry were also sealed in the spacecraft.

Image Source: Astronomer Carl Sagan Speaks at a news conference where NASA made available the last pictures taken by Voyager 1, which show the solar system as viewed from the outside.
Image Source: Astronomer Carl Sagan Speaks at a news conference where NASA made available the last pictures taken by Voyager 1, which show the solar system as viewed from the outside.

However, there was a controversy over the inclusion of Berry's song when it was picked to be sent to deep space. Nine years after that, Sagan and Druyan penned a letter to Berry on his 60th birthday. "Dear Chuck Berry," the letter read. "When they tell you your music will live forever, you can usually be sure they're exaggerating. But Johnny B. Goode is on the Voyager interstellar records attached to NASA's Voyager spacecraft and now two billion miles from Earth and bound for the stars. These records will last a billion years or more. Happy 60th birthday with our admiration for the music you have given to this world. Go, Johnny, go."

Image Source: A gold record in its cover, attached to a Voyager space probe, USA, circa 1977. Voyager 1 and its identical sister craft Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. The record, entitled 'The Sounds Of Earth' contains a selection of recordings of life and culture on Earth. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Image Source: A gold record in its cover, attached to a Voyager space probe, USA, circa 1977. Voyager 1 and its identical sister craft Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. The record, entitled 'The Sounds Of Earth' contains a selection of recordings of life and culture on Earth. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

According to NASA, each record in the vessel is encased in a protective aluminum jacket together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played. The 115 images are encoded in analog form. It will be forty thousand years before the vessels make a close approach to any other planetary system. "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet," Sagan noted.

Image Source: A technician attaches a gold record to a Voyager space probe, USA, circa 1977. Voyager 1 and its identical sister craft Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. The record, entitled 'The Sounds Of Earth' contains a selection of recordings of life and culture on Earth. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Image Source: A technician attaches a gold record to a Voyager space probe, USA, circa 1977. Voyager 1 and its identical sister craft Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually interstellar space. The record, entitled 'The Sounds Of Earth' contains a selection of recordings of life and culture on Earth. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The letter is nearly 50 years old and is now a part of The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive. Berry, who was older than Sagan, outlived him by 20 years as Sagan passed away in 1996. Berry's voice and the creation of other artists were carried on LPs made out of gold-plated copper, which happens to be long-lasting and can help extraterrestrial life forms access it from the Voyager spacecraft. According to the outlet, Voyager 1 left the solar system and ventured into interstellar space in 2012 and is now more than 12 billion miles from Earth and Voyager 2 is more than 10 billion miles away and they're further away than any human-made object has ever gone.

Image Source: Chuck Berry, vocal-guitar, performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, Netherlands on 14th July 1995. (Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns)
Image Source: Chuck Berry, vocal-guitar, performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, Netherlands on 14th July 1995. (Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns)

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