NASA’s 1977 Mixtape For Aliens Getting First-Ever Release

The Voyager Golden Record — the mixtape of natural Earth sounds, spoken greetings in various languages, and human music from various cultures that NASA shot into space in 1977 for aliens to find — is pretty hard to get ahold of. Right now, there are only 12 copies in existence. One is aboard Voyager 1, which is currently sitting pretty in interstellar space; another is 10 billion miles away on Voyager 2; one was reserved for then-President Jimmy Carter; and the rest were distributed to various institutions and NASA centers. Even Carl Sagan, who spearheaded the project, didn’t manage to snag one. But now, thanks to a Kickstarter project headed by Boing Boing editor and Institute For The Future research director David Pescovitz, actual humans will be able to listen to it.

Pescovitz is teaming up with Amoeba Music manager Timothy Daly and graphic designer Lawrence Azerrad to reissue the Voyager Record remastered on gold vinyl (as opposed to the originals’ gold-plated copper disks, designed to withstand a billion years of space travel). The plan is to release the 3xLP set next year in time for the 40th anniversary of the Voyager launches, and the box set will cost $98 plus shipping. You can back the crowdfunding project here (it’s already met its goal) and check out a video along with the tracklist below.

Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition audio tracks:

  • Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor
  • Java, court gamelan, “Kinds of Flowers,” recorded by Robert Brown
  • Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle
  • Zaire, Pygmy girls’ initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull
  • Australia, Aborigine songs, “Morning Star” and “Devil Bird,” recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes
  • Mexico, “El Cascabel,” performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México
  • “Johnny B. Goode,” written and performed by Chuck Berry
  • New Guinea, men’s house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan
  • Japan, Shakuhachi, “Tsuru No Sugomori” (“Crane’s Nest,”) performed by Goro Yamaguch
  • Bach, “Gavotte en rondeaux” from the Partita No. 3 in E major for Violin, performed by Arthur Grumiaux
  • Mozart, The Magic Flute, Queen of the Night aria, no. 14. Edda Moser, soprano. Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Wolfgang Sawallisch, conductor
  • Georgian S.S.R., chorus, “Tchakrulo,” collected by Radio Moscow
  • Peru, panpipes and drum, collected by Casa de la Cultura, Lima
  • “Melancholy Blues,” performed by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven
  • Azerbaijan S.S.R., bagpipes, recorded by Radio Moscow
  • Stravinsky, Rite of Spring, Sacrificial Dance, Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Igor Stravinsky, conductor
  • Bach, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, Prelude and Fugue in C, No.1. Glenn Gould, piano
  • Beethoven, Fifth Symphony, First Movement, the Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer, conductor
  • Bulgaria, “Izlel je Delyo Hagdutin,” sung by Valya Balkanska
  • Navajo Indians, Night Chant, recorded by Willard Rhodes
  • Holborne, Paueans, Galliards, Almains and Other Short Aeirs, “The Fairie Round,” performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London
  • Solomon Islands, panpipes, collected by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service
  • Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen
  • China, ch’in, “Flowing Streams,” performed by Kuan P’ing-hu
  • India, raga, “Jaat Kahan Ho,” sung by Surshri Kesar Bai Kerkar
  • “Dark Was the Night,” written and performed by Blind Willie Johnson
  • Beethoven, String Quartet No. 13 in B flat, Opus 130, Cavatina, performed by Budapest String Quartet
  • Greetings from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim
  • Greetings in 55 languages
  • United Nations greetings
  • Whale greetings
  • The Sounds of Earth: “Music of the Spheres” by Laurie Spiegel, Volcanoes, Earthquake, Thunder, Mud Pots, Wind, Rain, Surf, Crickets, Frogs, Birds, Hyena, Elephant, Chimpanzee, Wild Dog, Footstepts, Heartbeat, Laughter, Fire, Speech, The First Tools, Tame Dog, Herding Sheep, Blacksmith, Sawing, Tractor, Riveter, Morse Code, Ships, Horse and Cart, Train, Tractor, Bus, Auto, F-111 Flyby, Saturn 5 Lift-off, Kiss, Mother and Child, Life Signs, Pulsar

Tags: Carl Sagan