Chuck Berry, the father of rock and roll and one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time, passed away on the 18th March, aged 90. And even though he is gone, an indelible part of his legacy will live on, even beyond the life age of the Earth.

The Voyager spacecraft that were launched in 1977 both have a gold plated record attached to them, containing 90 minutes of the sounds that encapsulate life on this planet. The music includes concertos, spoken word, animal sounds, the crashes of thunder, and towards the end, a certain song by Johnny B. Goode .

These recordings were chosen by a committee of scientists, among them Carl Sagan, as a snapshot of life on Earth for any intelligent life out in the deep abyss of the cosmos. The disks contain pictograms indicating how the record should be played, and the spacecraft contains a player and a needle for any life form lucky enough to come across it.

The Voyager spacecraft are now over 17 billion miles away from Earth, and still going. They will continue indefinitely, possibly surviving for another billion years in their search for information outside our Solar System, the heliosphere, and hopefully one day, for life.

Students interested in Physics or Engineering should look at how phonographs work and how sound is created; those more interested in Physics should do some research on what the heliosphere is and how the outer boundaries of space work.

History students should look at how information is preserved through centuries and how this is likely to change. They should also consider how we decide the survival of art and how it is viewed through different lenses as it is passed down.

Everyone should listen to Johnny B Goode.

More Resources