Friday, September 23, 2016


The Voyager Golden Record was a gift from humanity to the cosmos. And it is also a gift to humanity.

In 1977, NASA launched two spacecraft, Voyager I and II, on a grand tour of the solar system and beyond, into the mysteries of interstellar space. Mounted to each of these spacecraft is a stunning golden phonograph record, an interstellar message to introduce our civilization to extraterrestrials who might encounter the probes, perhaps billions of years from now. 

The Voyager Golden Record contains the story of Earth expressed in sounds, images, and science: Earth's greatest music from myriad cultures and eras, from Bach and Beethoven to Blind Willie Johnson and Chuck Berry, Senegalese percussion to Solomon Island panpipes. Dozens of natural sounds of our planet -- birds, a train, a baby's cry -- are collaged into a lovely sound poem. There are spoken greetings in 55 human languages, and one whale language, and more than one hundred images encoded in analog that depict who, and what, we are.  

Etched on the record’s gold-plated aluminum jacket is a diagram explaining where it came from, and how to play it. 

Astronomer and science educator Carl Sagan chaired the visionary committee that created the original Voyager Golden Record forty years ago. Astronomer and SETI pioneer Frank Drake was the technical director, writer Ann Druyan was creative director, science writer Timothy Ferris produced the record, artist Jon Lomberg designed it, and artist Linda Salzman Sagan organized the greetings. 
Voyager I entered interstellar space in 2013. It’s almost 13 billion miles away from Earth, and in about 40,000 years it will be within 1.6 light years of a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis. Voyager II is right on its tail. We may never know whether an extraterrestrial civilization ever listens to the Golden Record. 

But now for the first time in history, to celebrate Voyager's 40th anniversary next year, you'll be able to experience it for yourself the way it was meant to be played.

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