Since men landed on the moon, space has quietly continued to spur our imaginations and influence a lot of our movie culture. Understandably, we've also been pretty interested with whether or not we are alone in this universe.
In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 1 probe into space and now, roughly 36 years later, it is still on its mission and is currently "on the cusp" of being the "first human-made object to ever leave our solar system".
As NASA researcher Ed Stone describes it, “this strange, last region before interstellar space is coming into focus, thanks to Voyager 1, humankind’s most distant scout."
The exact date Voyager 1 will leave the solar system is unclear—nevertheless, after 36 years of venturing out and gathering data along with enough power to keep on going till 2020, it can't be too far off now.
Voyager 1 and its sister probe, Voyager 2, both carry a "gold record" that contains "images, sounds (including music from different time periods and cultures) as well as general information "about [human beings] and the Earth"—all of which can be useful if they ever come into contact with any form of extraterrestrial intelligences. You can have a look at what it looks like, below:
[via Forbes, images via NASA]