This online discussion is open for comments April 15-28. An overview of these assignments and how you’ll be graded is available here.

The approximate reading time of this post is 1 minute, not counting any audio media.


The Voyager spacecrafts were launched in 1977 and have traveled beyond the edges of our solar system, carrying information about life on Earth. Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 contained a phonograph record of sounds and music selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. The phonograph is nicknamed “The Golden Record.”

The recordings include the greetings in 55 languages; sounds of ocean surf, wind, thunder, footsteps, laughter, trains, and animal noises; and 90 minutes of music.

The plaque which is attached to the spacecraft includes a message from President Jimmy Carter:

This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.

 

Sample of recordings included in the Golden Record (in the order they appear)

The entire list of music (27 recordings) included on the spacecraft is available here: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/music.html What criteria do you think Sagan and his team used in 1977 to choose the recordings that represent humanity in space? How would those criteria be updated if a similar project were launched in 2019?

Johann Sebastian Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, in F Major, BWV 1047, I. Allegro (1718)

Mangkunegara IV, Puspawarna (Kinds of Flowers) [Indonesia; gamelan ensemble]

Lorenzo Barcelata, “El Cascabel” (1941) [Mexico]

Chuck Berry, “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)

Tsuru no Sugomori (Nesting Cranes), performed by Yamaguchi Goro [Japan; shakuhachi]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Die Holle Rache” from Die Zauberflote, K. 620 (1791)

Igor Stravinsky, “Sacrificial Dance” from The Rite of Spring (1913)

Johann Sebastian Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, book 1, Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major (1722)

Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, I. Allegro (1807-08)

Izlel ye Delyo Hajdutin [Bulgaria]

Blind Willie Johnson, “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” (1927)

Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, Op. 130, V. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo (1826)

 

Sample of images included on the spacecrafts

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Voyager 2019!

Each of you should add your own piece of music to a playlist to be included on a space craft launched by Mu 101 in 2019 and explain why you think your chosen piece needs to be on the space craft.

Continue the conversation as usual: ask each other questions and respond to each other’s ideas to receive Credit for your participation.

-Dr. J.

64 thoughts on “Voyager Spacecraft 2019 (Online Discussion Apr 15-28)

  1. I would definitely choose the song by Whitney Houston titled, “Greatest love of all” because it speaks volumes about the good of human kind. Also, the song is a very pleasant and relaxing song to listen. It would translate wonderfully to alien intelligent life about how good we are. The song would relay the message that we are very nurturing and caring beings that mean no harm because it speaks about how we want the best for our children and that our parental intentions are to teach them good morals so that they can grow to become such beings as well. The song also displays our strong power of love and how we are very communal intelligent beings that ponder life’s meaning and strive to make the best of it by being loving and caring to one another especially to the young ones that are defenseless.

    The main messages that we want to communicate to extraterrestrial life are; that we are peaceful, that we are an advanced race, and that we love and care for each other and we feel the same for all life forms. I believe that this song encapsulates the essence of humanity.

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    1. Honestly I think this has to be one of the best answers I’ve read on this discussion board so far. You make a very good point when you acknowledge the main message that we would want to convey towards the extraterrestrial life. My only concern is weather or not the other world beings will be so advanced to the point where they would consider it an insult for us to think they don’t already know things about us.

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    2. This is crazy because I’ve recently had this song stuck in my head. I was using it as my motto and as some sort of reminder of how I should look at life. When I’m feeling low about the way I’m carrying myself in life, I look to this song and take on its advice which is to love oneself, love others and remember our youth as we encourage the next generation. I would have to back you up on your song choice!

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    3. Wow ! I like your take on this and I agree with you. Why would I send something up to space with no meaning, right ? If I were an extraterrestrial being, would I comprehend the messages in this music ? As a human being, music touches my soul by listening to the instruments together, the energy feeds into me and I enjoy it so much. In response to your concluding sentence, there is a lot of violence in our world but that song probably would give aliens an idea of how peaceful we, as a race, can be. Great idea !

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    4. I don’t know if it was religious or not but I really enjoyed two pieces. “El Cascabel”(1941) [Mexico] and (Go johnny Go).Spanish always attracts me with its energy and Go johnny go reminds me of another song from Bollywood. The “Izlel ye Delyo Hajdutin [Bulgaria] was a new experience for me. I never heard this kind of music before. I think these pieces was experiments like composers of that time was experimenting with these different sounds.

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  2. “Imagine” by John Lennon.
    It’s one of the greatest songs of all time!!
    It sends out a simple, yet meaningful message to the world and those around us. This song talks about common issues that divide us such as religion, countries, greed, and hunger. John Lennon is inspiring hope to those listening to his song– if we lived in a world with no suffering, no religion, no government, no greed, we would live in one peaceful world together. Not only does it have a beautiful message, but it’s educational to those who don’t know about our world and how it works. It’s also really catchy and worthy enough to show to the extraterrestrial life

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    1. It’s definitely one of the most famed works of John Lennon. That’s a great song choice. It celebrates unity and world peace and I believe that’s the kind of message we’d want representing our world. And if any alien life out there listening to it doesn’t know english, at least it’s catchy!

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    2. You have chosen a very excellent song in this discussion. I how how you explained that this song talks about the common issues that are dividing us in which we are dealing with today especially like you mentioned religion, countries, greed and hunger. Your choice of song sends out a very important message for all of us. Yes the song is indeed like you mentioned very catchy as I couldn’t agree more.

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    3. Wow!!! Maria, you chose a powerful song. “imagine” by John Lennon. It’s one of the songs that make me think that I am on another planet, but this song is also a bit controversial and can give negative messages about our world. Because the song speaks of imagining a perfect world and not like the one in which we live.

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    4. I agree to this. The song is really beautiful and heartwarming. I think it’s time for people to understand the real situation around the world. It needs to be given an attention for us to realize that we are not going anywhere with these violence.

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  3. The music included in the recording were chosen to represent various cultures and the world’s diversity. I can see that classical music from the baroque and classical era appear more frequently than other kinds of music. I think they chose to include works of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven because Sagan and his team considered their compositions to be the pinnacle of musical success. Their work is highly renowned and Sagan wanted to choose the best songs to represent humanity.
    If a recording was launched in 2019, we would follow the same standards as they did in 1977. We would make selections based on diversity and popularity to ensure not just a thorough listening experience, but a prominent one.
    If I could choose a song to contribute to the recording, I’d choose We Are The Champions by Queen. It’s an exceptional piece of music with a positive message, and it’s the kind of song I think would illustrate the greatness of humanity.

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    1. well said.. the song choice however I don’t think would be a good depiction of 2019.. “we will rock you” was created so that fans of the Queen band could be apart of their performance.. I don’t see how this song would depict humanity in 2019.

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    2. this makes a lot of sense now after listening to all of the records. I thought it was a weird coincidence that the album has many different types of song but they are really different types of culture put into songs.

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  4. I can only think of Time by Pink Floyd. It depicts the reality of time and the absurdity of one’s life. Time is never enough. We spend most of it looking for ourselves and by the time we find it we are barely alive. I think this song and its guitar solo would change something in everyone.
    clearly, they don’t speak English and if there are aliens, I hope they are different advances and not like us.
    We should save and then send ourselves our cultural treasure. We are the ones with mass destruction weapons in every country.
    If one-day stereotypical aliens show up because we reached the peak of stupidity, who do you think they will think the king of the stupid world is?

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  5. A song that I would choose for this spacecraft would be ” Man In the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. It is a very inspirational and encouraging song. Reason why is because in the song Michael Jackson mentions about that you as a person can make the change to make the world a much better place. I found that to be very true. The song also tells that rather than moaning of what is gone wrong with the world as it continues to extend negativity , hopelessness and inaction , challenge yourself to take action ideally. You can first begin with the person that you wanna influence and that is yourself. This in my opinion is an impactful message that will help us benefit ourselves. It is a very well thought out song and I enjoyed listening to this piece.

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    1. good choice…. and very good analysis of the song as well. it is good choice because people always says the world needs changing and expect the change to come from others and not from withing.

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    2. I agree nice choice, Michael Jackson’s music is worldwide and has impacted a large amount of people any song by him would be great to bring on a space craft.

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    3. I agree with you; this song gives us educational messages about how we can change the world starting with ourselves. Another powerful song that impacts our lives with its lyrics is “we are the world” By the USA for Africa.

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    4. That was a really powerful choice. I agree with your statement about the song being a good choice on the basis that it represents the human ability to refine and improve oneself, which is something that carried us to the top of the food chain , and makes us the most powerful species on the planet. Its something that other worldly beings should know about us.

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  6. Sagan and his team used classism, social status and cultural influences to select the type of music and sounds to represent humanity at that time. today if I was to do the same exercise I would choose Lil Duval “Living My Best Life”.. I would choose that song simply because it uplifts me and makes me smile. it always gets me in a cheerful mood when ever I listen to it. it also clears me of my stress and serves as constant reminder that in life its best to just enjoy your self and focus on things that makes you happy because life is worth living and life is very short, so just enjoy at all cost… whenever you can.

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  7. If I were given the opportunity to include a piece of music in a space craft that would be launched into space by our class I would choose “Let it be” By Labrinth. The reason I would choose “Let it be” is because the melody and tempo of the song induces this strong sense of euphoria that can make even the most stressed out and conflicted person crack a slight smile. While in spaced i’d assume there might be a few tense moments and i feel this song would be the perfect deterrent from the situation.

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  8. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley is the son I would into a space craft. This is song brings me into a peaceful happy place and I love it. Being from Jamaican heritage Bob Marley was a big part of music in my household. This song would remind me of home while i will be voyaging in space, reminding of how everything is going to be alright. The song is about someone that has been broken and how hard it is for someone to free themselves from mental slavery that came out of their physical slavery.

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    1. That is the exact song that came to my mind, that is the song i would send to the space craft too. As I continued to pounder on the phrase “emancipate yourself from mental slavery”, it allows me to think of all the expectation that are set for a people, some even before birth. And liberating oneself from these expectations allows people to be creative and to grow uniquelly

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  9. Question: This weeks topic of discussion is a very interesting one. I wanted to ask the group how they feel about the actual process of sending things into space. Do you feel like it’s pointless or do you see an actual cause behind these actions?

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    1. Kinda random question but I like it. I don’t think it’s pointless to send things into space. We have the ability to do so and I think it’s really important for us to understand our universe. I feel like it’s not the most important thing to do though. I feel like tons of money is used for space adventures when it could be used to focus on the people in need. However, researching and sending stuff into space is important for the bigger picture. It could potentially answer big questions as to maybe why we are here or if we really are alone in the universe.

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    2. Honestly, i think it is pointless to send music to space because i don’t think there are beings who would understand our music if they hear it. I think it is a great gesture to collect the best music and give people from other parts of the world a chance to experience something that is significant to others.

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      1. I agree with you because there are songs that people from different places of the world have never listened to and listening to them could be a new experience for them.

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    3. Song i want to add is tum wk gorakh nanda ho by Ustaad Nusrat fateh ali khan. Thats the song give me peace. Answer to ur question – I don’t feel its use less. It’s kind a interesting to me because it’s make think about alot of things.

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    4. I found the whole idea of sending music to space pointless, but unique at the same time. The fact that music and space can correlate in some way makes the idea seem fun. I read in an article that the intention of Voyager golden record was to communicate with aliens and other extraterrestrials. Even if it’s pointless this record can cause a huge change in the world in the future.

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      1. I agree that sending music to space is unique , but i disagree that its pointless because music is a universal language everyone understands music . For example we listen to music from all over the world, even if we dont understand the lyrics we can feel the beat .That’s why i think it would do good to send music into the universe

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      2. the idea of sending music to space is pointless if you don’t believe in aliens. However it seems like you are trying to say a alien ant find much use in our music if it was to find it and I disagree. Music is a huge part of human life and can tell an alien more than enough about the world, individuals, instruments and much more.

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    5. The universe is believed to be endless but not empty. Sending stuff from outer space might be ridiculous but not a waste of time. Who knows? maybe these stuff might reach somewhere some time or maybe it won’t. Endless space, endless possibilities.

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    6. I don’t think it’s pointless, because there’s over a billion planets! who knows what is out there.
      If we can reach out and show what our planet is like, they may return something back although it will take years.

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  10. If i had to put a song on the playlist I would put NASA by Ariana Grande on it. I just think it would be funny to have a song about space on the space playlist. It’s also a really cute and catchy song that I would wanna hear.

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    1. I find this funny. I’m going to listen to it now. Haha. I feel that whoever received your playlist would get your sense of humor as well as enjoying the song. I would be grateful to be able to laugh and dance simultaneously. Great response !

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    2. I found your comment funny, i love that song by Ariana grande but i feel like the songs that are played in the golden record are nothing compared to Grande’s song. Also, i don’t feel this song would be a good fit in the golden record because it’s a song related to love and about her desire for distance from the person she loves. It’s not one of her top songs and wouldn’t be a song that would really correlate to the rest of the songs in the record.

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  11. The thing that the voyage in the spacecraft is addressing is that the times are changing and that is what is shown in some of these photos. A song that represents this is ” Here I go Again” by White snake or something snake and it is something of deja vu where he is seeing the same thing over and over again. It shows how we go through the form of life where we are happy, not content, asking questions, or going through something that somebody went through but at a different point in time. People go through a point where they have to be independent and not give up because that is what you have to do to achieve your goals. The message is that life is just like an railway and you’re going to see one thing and think that is what is right, but its not because how the 70’s were and 2019 technology came about, and we can type on our phones so the future is here.

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  12. I would send Michael Jackson ‘Billie Jean’ because the music makes me want to move, it is upbeat and a dance song, overall. This song is also the song that Michael Jackson debuted his signature ‘Moonwalk’ dance, which is ironic. Anyways, the lyrics have nothing to do with space, neither do they relate to me and my life, but anything that is capable of making me want to move and feel good is worthy of distributing. I love to pass on positive energy in any arm form. Anyone who received my playlist in space may or may not agree with my taste, but at least they’d have music to moonwalk to while walking on the moon.

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    1. @leiyac19- This song is suitable to what you are trying to express yourself through dance movement and it sounds like you enjoy listening to it. Yet, why do you think “Billie Jean” does not relate to you at all? Also, how do you know some people would not “agree” with and like your playlist? Please elaborate!

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  13. I have to say many of you read my mind with your song suggestions. the motifs in Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson and The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston were ones that I think encompasses the good in this world. For me to just choose one song is hard. But it came down to two songs: September by Earth, Wind, and Fire and Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.
    I chose the Earth, Wind, and Fire piece because I think most songs talk about love which is an indicator that we are a kind who loves love and we also like to have a good time. I think this song covers both of these aspects. I also couldn’t help but add Bedingfield’s Unwritten because it captures the uncertainty of life and the outlook that we, as humans, should maintain which is to embrace it and take it head-on.

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    1. @shannamu101c3 – I see why you chose this particular song. This song fits the criteria of describing our emotion of “love” through humanity that still goes on in 2019. Love plays a big role in uncovering mysteries of true happiness that we can not let go and we need to go to pursue towards either a specific person, place or thing.

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  14. I think that are things going on outside of Earth. We think that something is cool here on Earth but in space or another planet there is something cool that is going on there that we don’t think is cool. There is something that we have to look into and by sending the messages to space is where the history is getting stored, and remembered by us humans. Some people wish that they can go back to those decades because it was simple, something that can be explained from the people living during those times but also people now. The here I go Again is something that shows when people are going through something like a phase that they went through before go through that same thing again, you go through different journeys and land at different destinations.

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  15. A song I would choose to send to space is “Where Is The Love?” by The Black Eyed Peas. I chose this song because this song talks about the troubles of this world and how we need more love and I feel like if we presented ourselves as imperfect the aliens would understand us more as to who we are.

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  16. I think the reason Sagan chose these songs is to convey the message that we come in peace and that we are advanced human beings.

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  17. A song that I would send to space is “Under Pressure” by Queen with David Bowie because the last section of the song gives out an important message about love, how powerful it can be, how it can change someone and that the world can be terrifying because of some things that have happened that make people afraid.

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  18. A piece of music being part of a playlist that should be on the spacecraft launched by our Music 101 class in 2019 is “7 Years” by pop artist Lukas Graham. I believe this musical piece needs to be on the spacecraft because Graham describes certain memories from his past (childhood – 7 years old, marriage and raising a family) until he reaches sixty years old before he could possibly see the end of his life.
    This song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHCob76kigA) explains how we should not waste our lives doing nothing, but instead enjoy it while it lasts because we are not going to live forever. Being children from our own mothers makes us realize that we should be grateful for them pushing us to find friends to play with because if they did not, we would not have any. When it comes to twenty and thirty years old, we start searching for the right soul mate to spend the rest of our lives with and creating children that would following our footsteps to success. Last, but not least, at the age of sixty and older, we notice that the world would not be the same as it used to be when we are younger because we are not as active and productive anymore by slowly fatiguing and losing contact with family and friends. However, this should not stop us from being hopeless and losing our faith in our own futures. Overall, “7 Years” is a great choice of music to be used in a spacecraft because it helps us portray what we need to change or improve in our daily lives so we could prevent the mistakes we make from happening again.

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  19. I’m thinking the song by Black Eyed Peas “Where is the love?”. I guess it’s about time we ask help from other species since humans are fighting their own kind. To be honest, that sounded funny, but I’m not laughing. The lyrics in this song is just self-explanatory and really reflect about what’s happening in the world. People are hurting each other from left to right, crimes being done anywhere around the world and innocent people getting harmed. It’s the best time to ask this question for all humanity. This song should help us realize that we are one no matter what the culture, religion, color, etc. We need to find this “Love” because we need it now more than ever.

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  20. A question I have for others is why do you think NASA included songs by classical artists like Stravinsky & Beethoven , instead of more recent artists?

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  21. The song I would send on the spacecraft launch would be “ I could fall in love with you” by Selena Quintanilla. Her voice is just so beautiful and soothing. It’s very pleasing to whoever hears her voice. I’m not sure who would listen to and if they would understand English but the lyrics talk about falling in love. I would be sending some love to whoever is in space.

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  22. I perceive the voyager golden record as a time capsule in some way. It’s fascinating how music and the universe can relate to each other. The songs I listened to in this discussion are all songs I have heard before, whether it was in class, in a commercial, or even in a movie. I think some of these songs were interesting to include in this record and listening to them now just shows how much music has changed over the years. One song I would include in the golden record would be Jukai by Jhene Aiko, this song covers a more emotional topic and talks about mental health that many people struggle with today. It’s a peaceful song and wayyy different from what you would tend to hear on the radio, but I feel like this song would be unique to incorporate into the record.

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  23. I would add Metallicas “the one” to send off on the voyager. Reason why is because of its story telling with instruments to start the song off. The guitar paints its own picture in your mind before lyrics are even introduced. If aliens where to ever try and understand our music and creativity this would be a great song to study being that it uses multiple different layers of story telling. Also the songs change of tempo and style from Calm calm rock to a hard rock then finally at the halfway point change into a full on heavy rock song shows how complex music can be.

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  24. If i could send a song to space i would choose We Are The World by Michael Jackson because the song is about inclusivity and unity, that all the people in the world are connected and that people from one place or group can not ignore the needs of others. The song also shows distress in certain parts of the world but it affirms that people can take actions to help those in need. If i were in space listening to this song it would be heart touching to hear that no matter what you are or what you believe in we are all one .

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  25. Interesting question I would say that send thing into the space has a cause because what if the human race extinct and reaper another race and they find the things we sent. They will learn about our music, culture and language. They will study us

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  26. I would most likely add Lorenzo Barcelata, “El Cascabel” to my playlist because I heard this song when i was a kid from a tv show or commercial. I like how the sounds or the song, particularly the guitar, speak culture of mexico. It feels very Spanish and original. I would most likely keep this in my files for maybe background music or for nostalgic purposes.

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  27. If I could send a song to the space I would chose My heart will go on by Celine Dion. Its a powerful song that make you have a lot feelings and its so romantic. Who doesn’t like a romantic song?

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  28. We are the world would be a wonderful song to share with extra terrestrial beings because it shares the most defining and beautiful (in my opinion) characteristic about humans: our ability to help each other and make the place we live in a better place by extension.

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