Do you geek out over vinyl? Then man, have we got something that’ll take you all the way to infinity ... and yeah, probably even beyond.
Why it’s taken so long for this to become a thing we aren’t exactly sure, but now you can buy The Sounds of Earth, the same record (well, almost the same record) that NASA shot into outer space on the Voyager I spacecraft back in 1977. Far out, right?
Thanks to the success of an ongoing Kickstarter campaign, $98 will buy you a pretty deluxe-looking boxed set that packs in three gold-colored (sadly, they’re not gold-plated) vinyl LPs, featuring the 90 minutes of music NASA saw fit to include on the original recording as the disco era here on Earth was drawing to a close.
However, there's no actual disco to be found. Partially curated by Carl Sagan, it’s a playlist that features a heavy dose of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and a healthy smattering of representative world music circa 1977. In terms of Americana, the spacemen get to hear Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, and Blind Willie Johnson.
Spread over roughly an hour and a half on its original single disc, the earthbound version is split into three shiny LPs. The three discs come ensconced in gold-on-black heavyweight sleeves, and are accompanied by a 96-page booklet crammed with original images from the record’s production. There’s also a gold foil print of the iconic diagram that adorns the Voyager record’s cover, as well as a gold-on-black turntable slipmat.
Gold-plated or not, this thing looks like it’s doing the original Voyager plenty of justice:
The famous image of Voyager’s gold-coated long-play disc has long been affixed firmly in America’s collective cultural consciousness. After NASA had dipped its toe in the water of one-way extraterrestrial communication with simple info plaques on Pioneers 10 and 11, “identifying their time and place of origin for the benefit of any other spacefarers,” the agency kicked things up a notch by attaching the fabled interplanetary musical artifact to the pair of Voyager craft.
Wanna get geeky with the details? NASA’s got you covered. Made of gold-plated copper, the original Voyager discs’ 12-inch aluminum covers are electroplated with “an ultra-pure sample of the isotope uranium-238,” according to the agency. On each of the records carried by the two Voyager craft is a hand-etched message: "To the makers of music — all worlds, all times.”
Sure, you can easily hunt down and hear most of the record’s tunes, thanks to the magic of all the technology humankind has developed in the 40 years since these hot tracks, quite literally, shot into the stratosphere. But that’s kind of missing the point, right?
Ozma Records, which is offering the box, is already taking pre-orders — even though the set’s not expected to ship until late January of next year. That’s not too long, though — especially when you consider the billions and billions of miles the Voyager twins already have traversed — and are still penetrating — in the void of space.