The Voyager Golden Record is an audio introduction to human civilization.

By Cailey Rizzo
January 21, 2017
Lawrence Azerrad/Ozma Records

When we make contact with aliens, NASA is beyond prepared.

Back in 1977, NASA created a phonograph record to introduce beings elsewhere in the universe to the sounds humans make. They only produced 12 copies of the mix known as the “Voyager Golden Record”—two of which was shot up into space—at the time.

Now, in honor of the project’s 40th anniversary, the two-hour long audio mix is being released for human ears.

Lawrence Azerrad/Ozma Records
Lawrence Azerrad/Ozma Records

The sounds are selected from many different cultures and time periods. Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto” and Senegalese percussion lead the tracklist. There’s also mariachi music, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Louis Armstrong, Stravinsky, an Indian raga and the sounds of thunder, footsteps, a rocket launch, laughter, and a baby crying. “Hello” in 55 different languages and the official greetings of the United Nations round out the human record.

Of the 12 copies printed back in 1977, one went to then-President Jimmy Carter, two were shot into space aboard the Voyagers 1 and 2 and the rest were distributed to various NASA centers and other institutions. The recordings were so exclusive that even Carl Sagan, who spearheaded the whole thing, didn’t get one.

Lawrence Azerrad/Ozma Records
Lawrence Azerrad/Ozma Records

The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition will be printed on three gold vinyl LPs and be packaged with interstellar attention to detail by Ozma Records. The reprint will come in a box set with a hardbound accompanying book, digital download card, and lithograph reproduction of the original explanation of how to play records.

The project’s Kickstarter has already earned three times its goal, with 24 days left for funding. The boxset is available for $98 plus shipping, and scheduled to come out in 2017 in honor of the anniversary.

Cailey Rizzo writes about travel, art and culture and is the founding editor of The Local Dive. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @misscaileyanne.