The Story of the Voyager Golden Record


The idea of extraterrestrial life is one that has intrigued societies and generations throughout history. While it may seem like an illogical, far-fetched concept, NASA has dedicated a multitude of missions to discovering whether or not there really are little green men out there. By far the most intriguing of these attempts, however, is the Voyager Golden Record.

The Voyager Golden Record, not surprisingly, was placed in the Voyager spacecrafts in 1977, which are dedicated to scouting out some of the more distant planets to Earth, such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. So far from our home planet, One picture of Earth taken from Voyager was entitled the Pale Blue Dot.

“Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

— Carl Sagan

The Voyager records were, as the name implies, made of solid gold and featured on side 1 a label entitled The Sounds of Earth and on side 2, etchings of how the record should be played, as well as Earth’s location in the galaxy.

The record, being titled The Sounds of Earth, is exactly as it would imply; the record features greetings in over 50 languages, sounds of nature, and recordings of what were considered to be the best pieces of music from Earth. The inclusion of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode was somewhat controversial, as many at the time considered rock music to be “adolescent”. Carl Sagan responded to this claim with “There are a lot of adolescents on this planet”.

It is hoped that, if extraterrestrial life were to find said records, that they would gain a basic understanding of Earth’s location and the diverse life that it hosts. While most humans would take the sounds of their own planet for granted, NASA was kind enough to release the entirety of the Voyager Golden Record on SoundCloud.