A message in a bottle. The first cosmic mixtape. A letter from home that may never reach its destination. Compiled for NASA by a Cornell University committee led by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan in 1977, copies of the Golden Record are currently carried aboard both Voyager I and Voyager II spacecraft as they plunge without terminus into deep space. As detailed in the book Murmurs of Earth, the Voyager record is an etched golden circle that contains both music and visual images. A stylus and cartridge for playback, as well as instructions, are provided for anyone or thing capable of deciphering the mechanism, in case they aren’t already traveling through deep space with turntables of their own.
In addition to spoken greetings in 55 different languages and a photo album meant to depict Earth and the diversity of the human race, the record features recordings of music performed all over the world, including selections by Beethoven, Guan Pinghu, Blind Willie Johnson, Chuck Berry and Kesarbai Kerkar. Each copy of the Voyager record also bears the inscription “To the makers of music – all worlds, all times” hard-etched on its surface.
This slideshow by YouTube user Frank Capote creates a unique audio/visual experience of the Golden Record by allowing the record’s sounds and images to play in sync over the course of almost two hours. Immersed in the data flow, we experience our own species as outsiders who stumbled across this strange message floating in outer space.