Mozart, Bach and Beethoven leave solar system in Voyager spacecraft

A selection of classical music travelling on the Voyager spacecraft at 100,000mph has made it outside our solar system, and is now 11.6 billion miles away from Earth.

voyager music

Launched in 1977, Voyager was sent to study the outer planets, and has now travelled further than anyone or anything in history. It's so far away it takes 17 hours for a radio signal sent from the craft to be picked up on Earth.

Along with greetings in 55 languages, music submitted by countries across the world was transferred onto a gold vinyl record to serve as a message to any life form that might someday stumble across the spacecraft. The out-of-this-world playlist includes jazz by Louis Armstrong, traditional tunes from different continents, and classical music by great composers including Bach, Stravinsky, Beethoven and Mozart.

The spacecraft will not approach another star for nearly 40,000 years. By this time, the plutonium power sources will have run out of power and the 20W transmitters will have stopped broadcasting a signal, so there's no way of knowing whether alien life forms will have discovered the music - or worked out how to play it.

Picture: NASA

Full list of music on the Voyager spacecraft

Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement

Java, court gamelan, "Kinds of Flowers," recorded by Robert Brown

Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle

Zaire, Pygmy girls' initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull

Australia, Aborigine songs, Morning Star and Devil Bird, recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes

Mexico, El Cascabel, performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México

Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry

New Guinea, men's house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan

Japan, shakuhachi, Tsuru No Sugomori ("Crane's Nest,") performed by Goro Yamaguchi

Bach, Gavotte en rondeaux from Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin

Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria

Georgian S.S.R., chorus, Tchakrulo

Peru, panpipes and drum

Melancholy Blues, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven

Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes

Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance

Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1

Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, First Movement

Bulgaria, Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin    

Navajo Indians, Night Chant

Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, The Fairie Round

Solomon Islands, panpipes

Peru, wedding song

China, ch'in, Flowing Streams    

India, raga, Jaat Kahan Ho

Dark Was the Night, Blind Willie Johnson

Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina

Mozart, Queen of the Night - Video

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