The Voyager Golden Records are two that were included aboard both launched in 1977. The records contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent form, or for future humans, who may find them. The records are considered as a sort of a .

Although neither Voyager spacecraft is heading toward any particular star, will pass within 1.6 ' distance of the star , currently in the constellation , in about .

noted that "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring in space, but the launching of this says something very hopeful about life on this planet."



The probe is currently the from . Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space, the region between stars where the is present. Like their predecessors and , which featured a simple , both Voyager 1 and were launched by with a message aboard—a kind of , intended to communicate to extraterrestrials a story of the world of on Earth.

This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.



Main article:

The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by of . The selection of content for the record took almost a year. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of and ). To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in 55 ancient and modern languages, other human sounds, like footsteps and laughter (Sagan's), and printed messages from U.S. president and . The record also includes the inspirational message in .

The collection of images includes many photographs and diagrams both in black and white, and color. The first images are of scientific interest, showing mathematical and physical quantities, the and its planets, , and human and . Care was taken to include not only pictures of humanity, but also some of animals, insects, plants and landscapes. Images of humanity depict a broad range of cultures. These images show food, architecture, and humans in portraits as well as going about their day-to-day lives. Many pictures are annotated with one or more indications of scales of time, size, or mass. Some images contain indications of . All measures used on the pictures are defined in the first few images using physical references that are likely to be consistent anywhere in the .

The musical selection is also varied, featuring works by composers such as (interpreted by ), , (played by ), and . The disc also includes music by , , , , , and electronic composer , as well as by oboe player . The inclusion of Berry's "" was controversial, with some claiming that rock music was "adolescent", to which Sagan replied, "There are a lot of adolescents on the planet." The selection of music for the record was completed by a team composed of Carl Sagan as project director, , , , as creative director, artist , as producer, who was an editor for at the time, and as sound engineer..

The Golden Record also carries an hour long recording of the brainwaves of . During the recording of the brainwaves, Druyan thought of many topics, including Earth's history, civilizations and the problems they face, and what it was like to fall in love.

After NASA had received (line drawings of a naked man and woman), the agency chose not to allow Sagan and his colleagues to include a photograph of a nude man and woman on the record. Instead, only a silhouette of the couple was included. However, the record does contain "Diagram of vertebrate evolution", by , with drawings of an anatomically correct naked male and naked female, showing external organs.

The pulsar map and hydrogen molecule diagram are shared in common with the .

The 115 images are encoded in analogue form and composed of 512 vertical lines. The remainder of the record is audio, designed to be played at 16⅔ revolutions per minute.

, who was still early in his career as a music producer, served as sound engineer for the project.

It has been said that Carl Sagan suggested including the song "" on the record but the record company , which held the copyrights, declined. However, this was refuted by , who worked on the selection with Sagan; the song was never even considered for inclusion.

In July 2015, NASA uploaded the audio contents of the record to the audio streaming service .


Select images on the Voyager Golden Record

A woman in a supermarket 

A photo of with its diameter indicated 

This image depicts humans drinking, licking and eating as modes of feeding. 

This is a photograph of the Arecibo observatory marked with an indication of scale. 

This is a photograph of Egypt, Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula and the Nile from Earth orbit annotated with chemical composition of Earth's atmosphere. 


Explanation of the Voyager record cover diagram, as provided by NASA

In the upper left-hand corner is a drawing of the and the stylus carried with it. The stylus is in the correct position to play the record from the beginning. Written around it in is the correct time of one rotation of the record, 3.6 seconds, expressed in time units of 0.70 billionths of a second, the time period associated with a . The drawing indicates that the record should be played from the outside in. Below this drawing is a side view of the record and stylus, with a binary number giving the time to play one side of the record—about an hour (more precisely, between 53 and 54 minutes).

The information in the upper right-hand portion of the cover is designed to show how pictures are to be constructed from the recorded signals. The top drawing shows the typical signal that occurs at the start of a picture. The picture is made from this signal, which traces the picture as a series of vertical lines, similar to analog (in which the picture is a series of horizontal lines). Picture lines 1, 2 and 3 are noted in binary numbers, and the duration of one of the "picture lines," about 8 milliseconds, is noted. The drawing immediately below shows how these lines are to be drawn vertically, with staggered "interlace" to give the correct picture rendition. Immediately below this is a drawing of an entire picture , showing that there are 512 (29) vertical lines in a complete picture. Immediately below this is a replica of the first picture on the record to permit the recipients to verify that they are decoding the signals correctly. A circle was used in this picture to ensure that the recipients use the correct ratio of horizontal to vertical height in picture reconstruction. Color images were represented by three images in sequence, one each for red, green, and blue components of the image. A color image of the spectrum of the sun was included for calibration purposes.

The drawing in the lower left-hand corner of the cover is the pulsar map previously sent as part of the plaques on Pioneers 10 and 11. It shows the location of the Solar System with respect to 14 , whose precise periods are given. The drawing containing two circles in the lower right-hand corner is a drawing of the in its two lowest states, with a connecting line and digit 1 to indicate that the time interval associated with the transition from one state to the other is to be used as the fundamental time scale, both for the time given on the cover and in the decoded pictures.


Gold plating at the James G. Lee Record Processing center in Gardena, California (left), and preparation for the record's packaging before the launch of (right).

Blank records were provided by the S.A. of , France. contracted the JVC Cutting Center in , to cut the which were then sent to the James G. Lee record-processing center in , to cut and gold-plate eight Voyager records. After the records were plated they were mounted in aluminum containers and delivered to JPL.

The record is constructed of gold-plated copper and is 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The record's cover is and upon it is an ultra-pure sample of the isotope . Uranium-238 has a of 4.468 billion years. It is possible (e.g. via ) that a civilization that encounters the record will be able to use the ratio of remaining uranium to the other elements to determine the age of the record.

The records also had the inscription "To the makers of music – all worlds, all times" hand-etched on its surface. The inscription was located in the "takeout grooves", an area of the record between the label and playable surface. Since this was not in the original specifications, the record was initially rejected, to be replaced with a blank disc. Sagan later convinced the administrator to include the record as is.


Golden record is attached to the spacecraft.

was launched in 1977, passed the orbit of in 1990, and left the (in the sense of passing the ) in November 2004. It is now in the . In about 40,000 years, it and will each come to within about 1.8 of two separate stars: Voyager 1 will have approached star , located in the constellation ; and Voyager 2 will have approached star , located in the constellation of .

In March 2012, Voyager 1 was over 17.9 billion km from the Sun and traveling at a speed of 3.6 per year (approximately 61,000 km/h (38,000 mph)), while Voyager 2 was over 14.7 billion km away and moving at about 3.3 AU per year (approximately 56,000 km/h (35,000 mph)).

Voyager 1 has entered the , the region beyond the termination shock. The termination shock is where the solar wind, a thin stream of electrically charged gas blowing continuously outward from the Sun, is slowed by pressure from gas between the stars. At the termination shock, the solar wind slows abruptly from its average speed of 300–700 km/s (670,000–1,570,000 mph) and becomes denser and hotter.

Of the eleven instruments carried on Voyager 1, five of them are still operational and continue to send back data today. It is expected that there will be insufficient energy to power any of the instruments beyond 2025.

On September 12, 2013, NASA announced that Voyager 1 had left the heliosheath and entered , although it still remains within the Sun's gravitational sphere of influence.

Depictions in culture[]

Several works of science fiction, such as the 1979 film , the 1984 film and the 2000 film feature extraterrestrial intelligences discovering the record and turning their attention to Earth as a result. Among these is included the computer animated television show , which features one of the records as a central plot point in a continuation of the storyline. Referred to as the Golden Disk, the record is stolen by and his band of Predacons. The disk is revealed to contain a hidden message left by , instructing his descendants to venture back in time to prehistoric Earth and assassinate , to change history and ensure a victory against the .

In a segment ("Next Week in Review") in episode 64 of the show's (originally aired 1978), 's character, a psychic named Cocuwa, announced that extraterrestrials had responded to the record with the four words "Send more Chuck Berry".

The recording is a major plot piece of "", a episode of .

On , the Greetings from Earth on the golden record are sent to by Rain Robinson in Season 3, Episode 8 "".

It was also referenced in the 2005 animation known as as being one of the objects that the aliens discover.

In 2014, the produced an episode titled "Voyager Found", where the Voyager crash-lands on the property of Dawn and Tad, an alien couple, who decide to play the record.

In 2014, composer wrote a Voyager Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, which was premiered in , Australia in November that year by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO), and in Stockholm the following April (2015), by the Swedish Radio Orchestra. The QSO, with British violinist Jack Liebeck, performed the piece over several concerts at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre; each performance was preceded by a lecture by physicist professor , who talked at length about NASA's Voyager Mission, and introduced the concerto. The 30-minute piece, in one single movement, depicts the journey of the Voyager through the Solar System, using as references some of the music that is on board each probe, on the Golden Record.

An image of the Golden Record cover is printed on the physical CD of 's 2014 release Love & Gravity.

The 2015 feature documentary Sam Klemke's Time Machine, compares the Golden Record's portrait of humanity to American man Sam Klemke's ongoing self-portraiture. In 1977—the same year that NASA launched Voyager with the Golden Record—Sam started obsessively documenting his entire life on film. Sam Klemke's Time Machine, directed by Matthew Bate, premiered at the .

, an English folk singer, released the album Upcetera in September 2016. It contains the track 'Sounds of Earth' in which he interweaves the stories of the production of the Golden Record and the romance between Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. It refers to the recording of an EEG of Druyan as she thought of Sagan as the sound of someone falling in love.

In October 2016, the podcast featured an updated, version of the Golden Record which included, among other entries, , , and the .

, an English songwriter and folk singer, released a track by the name of "The Golden Record" on her 2017 album Heart First Aid Kit, which is a love song based upon the story of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, referencing the additions made to the record intended to depict the sound of human beings in love.

The 2017 documentary The Farthest, directed by Emer Reynolds, features those who worked on the Golden Record and missions including , , and .


Most of the images used on the record (reproduced in black and white), together with information about its compilation, can be found in the 1978 book Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record by , , , , , and . A version was issued by Warner New Media in 1992. Author Ann Druyan, who later married Carl Sagan, wrote about the Voyager Record in the epilogue of Sagan's final book .

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the record, Ozma Records launched a project to release the record contents in format as part of a box set also containing a hardcover book, turntable slipmat, and art print. The Kickstarter was successfully funded with over .4 million raised. Ozma Records then produced another edition of the three-disc LP vinyl record box set that also includes the audio content of the Golden Record, softcover book containing the images encoded on the record, images sent back by Voyager, commentary from Ferris, art print, turntable slipmat, and a collector's box. This edition was released in February 2018 along with a 2xCD-Book edition. In January 2018, Ozma Records' "Voyager Golden Record; 40th Anniversary Edition" won a for best boxed or limited-edition package.

A book called Hello World - A Time Capsule of Life, the Earth, and Humanity was inspired by Voyager's Golden Record. This book shares videos from around the world to create a time capsule of the planet Earth.[]

Track listing[]

Main article:

The track listing is as it appears on the 2017 edition released by Ozma Records.

Disc one 1. "Greeting from , Secretary-General of the United Nations" 0:44 2. "Greetings in 55 Languages" (by Various Artists) 3:46 3. "United Nations Greetings/Whale Songs" (by Various Artists) 4:04 4. "The Sounds of Earth" (by Various Artists) 12:19 5. ": I. Allegro ()" (by Munich Bach Orchestra/) 4:44 6. "Ketawang: Puspåwårnå (Kinds of Flowers)" (by Pura Paku Alaman Palace Orchestra/K.R.T. Wasitodipuro) 4:47 7. "Cengunmé" (by Mahi musicians of Benin) 2:11 8. "Alima Song" (by Mbuti of the Ituri Rainforest) 1:01 9. "Barnumbirr (Morning Star) and Moikoi Song" (by Tom Djawa, Mudpo, and Waliparu) 1:29 10. "El Cascabel (Lorenzo Barcelata)" (by Antonio Maciel and Los Aguilillas with Mariachi México de Pepe Villa/Rafael Carrión) 3:20 11. "" (by ) 2:41 12. "Mariuamangɨ" (by Pranis Pandang and Kumbui of the Nyaura Clan) 1:25 13. "Sokaku-Reibo (Depicting the Cranes in Their Nest)" (by ) 5:04 14. ": III. Gavotte en Rondeau (Johann Sebastian Bach)" (by ) 2:58 15. " (Die Zauberflöte), K. 620, Act II: (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)" (by Orchestra and Chorus/) 3:00 16. "" (by Georgian State Merited Ensemble of Folk Song and Dance/Anzor Kavsadze) 2:21 Disc two 1. "Roncadoras and Drums" (by Musicians from Ancash) 0:55 2. "Melancholy Blues (Marty Bloom/)" (by ) 3:06 3. "Muğam" (by ) 2:35 4. " (Le Sacre du Printemps), Part II—The Sacrifice: VI. Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One) ()" (by /Igor Stravinsky) 4:38 5. ", Book II: Prelude and Fugue No. 1 in C Major, BWV 870 (Johann Sebastian Bach)" (by ) 4:51 6. ", Opus 67: I. Allegro Con Brio ()" (by /) 8:49 7. "" (by ) 5:04 8. "Navajo Night Chant, Yeibichai Dance" (Ambrose Roan Horse, Chester Roan, and Tom Roan) 1:01 9. "The Fairie Round ()" (by /) 1:19 10. "Naranaratana Kookokoo (The Cry of the Megapode Bird)" (by Maniasinimae and Taumaetarau Chieftain Tribe of Oloha and Palasu'u Village Community) 1:15 11. "Wedding Song" (by Young girl of Huancavelica) 0:42 12. "Liu Shui (Flowing Streams)" (by Guan Pinghu) 7:36 13. "Bhairavi: Jaat Kahan Ho" (by Kesarbai Kerkar) 3:34 14. "" (by ) 3:32 15. ", Opus 130: V. Cavatina (Ludwig Van Beethoven)" (by ) 6:41

See also[]


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  • Originally based on public domain text from the , where selected images and sounds from the record can be found.

External links[]

  • . JPL/NASA. 
  • . 
  • . 
  • on
  • Bui, Lily. . MIT. 
  • . Internet Archive. 
  • . Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. 
  • . University of Iowa. 
  • . The Celestial Monochord. 
  • Kleas, Larry (August 26, 2007). (PDF). Tompkins Weekly. 1 (45). Ithaca, New York. p. 11. Archived from (PDF) on February 28, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2008. 
  • . . August 19, 2007. 
  • . Radiolab. WNYC. May 12, 2006. 
  • . . November 19, 2005. 
  • . Kickstarter. September 2016. 
  • . NPR. September 30, 2017.