In 1977, two NASA spacecraft rocketed into the great unknown, each carrying a golden record with a message to any alien species that may encounter it.
Now, for the first time, that message will be made available to the people of Earth.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Voyager launches, Ozma Records is preparing to ship playable replicas of the iconic album next month.
A successful Kickstarter campaign helped drum up interest ($1,363,037 worth) in what the California-based studio called “the historic interstellar message for extraterrestrials.”
Conceived by Boing Boing co-editor David Pescovitz, Amoeba Music record store manager Timothy Daly, and graphic designer Lawrence Azerrad, the Voyager Golden Record represents different things for different people.
“As an exquisitely curated music compilation, the Voyager record is an inviting port of entry to unfamiliar yet entrancing sounds from other cultures and other times,” the Ozma Records website said. “As an objet d’art and design, it represents deep insights about communication, context, and the power of media. In the realm of science, it raises fundamental questions about who we are and our place in the universe.
“At the intersection of those three perspectives,” according to the team, “the Voyager record is a testament to the potential of science and art to ignite humanity’s sense of curiosity and wonder.”
Listen online to an audio sampler online, or order your own copy, featuring greetings in 55 languages, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” concertos by Mozart and Beethoven, a Peruvian wedding song, and “the sounds of Earth.”
Collectors can snag a three-LP box set, complete with translucent gold 140-gram vinyl records, a softcover book presenting images from the original record, and a $98 price tag.
Those who still own a CD player, meanwhile, can save a few bucks with the $50 two-disc compilation, plus a hardcover version of the image gallery.
The first batch of U.S. orders hit postal trucks in early September—only a month late (a win in most Internet crowdfunding books). Nearly 10,770 backers contributed to last year’s campaign; it remains unclear how many records in total were sold at the time.
“We may never know whether an extraterrestrial civilization ever listens to the golden record. It was a gift from humanity to the cosmos,” Ozma said. “But it is also a gift to humanity. The record embodies a sense of possibility and hope. And it’s as relevant now as it was in 1977. Perhaps even more so.
“The Voyager Interstellar Record is a reminder of what we can achieve when we are at our best—and that our future really is up to all of us.”