V O Y A G E R G O L D E N R E C O R D
A note from Yves: "The Voyager Golden Record could arguably earn the distinction of “rarest record ever made”…. there’s only one copy, and it’s floating in outer space!! As a record collector and lover of Carl Sagan, and all-things-'70s, this record has been on my radar for many years. Terrible pun, but I couldn’t resist. It’s such an interesting idea and document of our culture."
The Voyager Golden Record is a phonograph that was made in 1977 to be placed on the Voyager spacecraft and, yes, sent to space.
The record is etched with a drawing of the phonograph record and the stylus carried with it, and binary arithmetic that explains one rotation of the record (3.6 seconds). The drawing was meant to indicate to aliens that the record should be played from the outside in. There is also an illustrated instruction to play one side of the record for one hour, a pulsar map, and a method that would allow for aliens to calculate the time that had elapsed since a spot of uranium was placed aboard the spacecraft.
The contents of the record—over one hundred images, nature sounds (i.e. wind, ocean, thunder, birds, and animal noises), music from different eras and cultures, and spoken greetings in fifty-five different Earth languages, were selected for NASA by Carl Sagan and a committee.
Recently, a group started a Kickstarter to copy and release the Voyager Golden Record! The LPs will contain all of the same music, multilingual greetings, and nature sounds that can are on the original Voyager Golden Record—and Timothy Ferris, who produced of the original Voyager Golden Record, will be in the recording studio as it's made, remastering the material.
The brains behind the project said that "The creation and launch of the Voyager Golden Record was a testament to the power of science and art to ignite humanity’s sense of curiosity, delight, and wonder...Our hope is that The Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition will provoke questions about our place in the universe, open our minds to possibility, and serve as a reminder that the future is really up to all of us."
A note from Yves: "I was excited to see that someone had actually taken on the ambitious task of reproducing this so beautifully. I would have thought there would be a pretty limited audience for this record… but do the math as to how many copies have been pre-sold and the numbers tell a different story. I missed the initial Kickstarter round of funding and was happy to see that they are extending the preorders. And of course I got one with a book."
Get your copy of the Voyager Golden Record here!