The Voyager 1 spacecraft might be the most famous time capsule in history, soaring through space as a testament to humanity's achievements. We don't know if intelligent life will ever find the craft or its contents, launched in 1977 to explore the planets before sailing indefinitely beyond our solar system. But at least humans here on Earth can finally own a piece of its history.
Image: Ozma Records
The Voyager spacecraft includes the so-called Golden Record that is now available for purchase on both LP and CD. The album has 90 minutes of music from around the world, though the only contemporary American song is a lone track from Chuck Berry, "Johnny B. Goode". Carl Sagan reportedly wanted to go with the song "Roll Over Beethoven" but was persuaded by his university students that "Johnny B. Goode" was a better choice. The Australian inclusions were the Aboriginal songs "Morning Star" and "Devil Bird", recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes.
A Kickstarter campaign to release the record raised over $US1.3 million ($1.7 million), but you don't have to be a contributor to get your hands on one. The album is available to order on both CD and LP, though the three-vinyl LP version isn't a copper disc wrapped in gold, like the version that's now hurtling through space. That version was sealed in real gold to protect it from the elements (both meteoroids and radiation) as it searches for intelligent life that may be able to listen to the record. The spacecraft record has a needle and primitive instructions for how to play it, should ET ever discover the thing.
Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 contain the Golden Record, but Voyager 1 is on a faster course (despite being launched after Voyager 2) and is the farthest human-made object from Earth. The new LP version is a costly $US98 ($129), but it does include perks such as a 96-page softcover book with plenty of information about the Voyager missions. The CD version is a more affordable $US50 ($66).
Image: Ozma Records
It's a rare treat to be able to buy the record today. Even Carl Sagan didn't get a copy of the record, which is being released by Ozma Records. You can order a copy of the LP or the CD over at the Ozma Records website, though the LP version has proved so popular that you probably won't get it until January. So don't get your hopes up if you were planning to give it as a Christmas present.
And, yes, the vinyl version includes a digital download card that allows you to grab MP3 or FLAC versions of the music. This is the future, after all.