Collection Item Summary:
The Voyager "Sounds of Earth" Record contains sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth that went with the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977. Selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan, it contained 122 images, spoken greetings in fifty-five languages, and music.
This duplicate record was transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to the Museum in 1978.
Collection Item Long Description:
The Voyager "Sounds of Earth" record is an analogue disc record containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, attached to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft.
When the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977 to explore the outer Solar System both carried identical messages to any form of life that might be encountered. The message was contained on a phonograph record--a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 122 images and a variety of natural sounds. To this they added spoken greetings from Earth in fifty-five languages. There is also an eclectic 90-minute musical program, in which Chuck Berry’s "Johnny B Goode" and Mozart’s "Magic Flute" vie with a Zairian Pygmy girls’ initiation song, a shakuhachi piece from Japan and "Dark Was the Night," written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson.
The disc was mounted in plain view on the exterior of both Voyager spacecraft, along with a stylus and pictographic instructions on how to play it. The side that faces inward towards the spacecraft is best protected, and contains all the images included on the record, as well as human and cetacean greetings, the sounds of Earth, and a third of the music selections. The outer side consists entirely of musical selections.