The Voyager Golden Record, the object comprised of Earth's best representation of song and sound that launched into space in 1977 for extraterrestrial beings, will be reissued on vinyl in honor of its 40th anniversary. The project is being funded through a Kickstarter campaign, which began Wednesday and has already surpassed its pledge goal of $198,000.
NASA attached a copy of the Golden Record to both the Voyager I and II spacecrafts. The discs were created by a special committee that included beloved astronomer Carl Sagan alongside musicologist Alan Lomax, who served as a volunteer member. The discs featured an array of music from around the world, including Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, an Indian raga and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" (though neither Sagan nor Lomax were fans of the latter track).
Along with the music, the discs included audio of various Earth sounds (rain, dogs, kissing, laughter, ships, tractors), greetings in 55 human languages and one whale language. Over 100 images depicting the human race were also encoded in analog onto the discs.
While a CD-ROM version of the Golden Record was released in 1992 and NASA has uploaded the greetings and Earth sounds to SoundCloud, the new box set marks the first time the Golden Record will be released on vinyl. The set will include three translucent gold vinyl LPs featuring all the music and audio from the Golden Record. (While the original discs were designed to be played at 16 2/3 RPM, these will play at a standard 33 1/3.)
The set also comes with a book featuring the images encoded onto the disc, as well as essays and ephemera related to the Voyager mission. Download cards for the audio and a lithograph of the Golden Record cover diagram, which explained how the discs could be played and where they came from, will also be available. Timothy Ferris, the producer who handled the original Voyager Golden Record, will remaster the audio for the project.
"The Voyager Golden Record was a testament to the power of science and art to ignite humanity’s sense of curiosity, delight, and wonder," the project's co-founder David Pescovitz said in a statement. "And that is the mindset with which we approached this project."
The Golden Record Box Set is available to pre-order through the project's Kickstarter campaign with a pledge of $98 or more. Digital downloads of all the audio and a print of the cover diagram is available for $25.
The set will be released by Ozma Records, a new label created by Pescovitz and Amoeba Music manager Timothy Daly. In an interview with The New York Times, Pescovitz said, "When you're seven years old, and you hear about a group of people creating messages for possible extraterrestrial intelligence, that sparks the imagination. The idea always stuck with me."