Reprint of NASA's Golden Record Takes Home a Grammy

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A vinyl reprint of the Voyager Golden Record, which carries a greeting for extraterrestrials beyond the solar system, won a Grammy Award this past Sunday (Jan. 28). 

The creators of the vinyl reprint took home the award for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. Produced by Ozma Records, the $98 special box set includes three gold-colored vinyl records pressed with the original Golden Record recording. 

Copies of the original Golden Record launched aboard the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, which were both scheduled to eventually travel beyond Earth's solar system. In case an intelligent alien species were to stumble upon one of those probes, NASA commissioned a group of people to create a greeting from humanity. Voyager 1 is believed to have exited the solar system in 2012, and Voyager 2 is in a boundary region called the "heliosheath." [The Golden Record in Pictures: Voyager Probes' Message to Space Explained]


A special box set featuring vinyl pressings of the Voyager Golden Record. (Image credit: Lawrence Azerrad/Ozma Records)

The record includes a wide array of music, greetings spoken in 55 languages, and other sounds from Earth, including whale songs, dogs barking, a human laughing and a rocket lifting off. The record also includes photographs and mathematics diagrams encoded as data. The team that assembled the content included astrophysicist and science communicator Carl Sagan and science communicator Ann Druyan.

Some of the contents of the original record are available digitally from NASA. The visual elements that accompanied the record are also available to the public. NASA reported that only 12 hard copies were made of the original record; two were attached to the spacecraft, and 10 others were made available to various NASA centers.

The creators of the new vinyl set are David Pescovitz, a researcher for the Institute for the Future and co-editor for the website Boing Boing; Timothy Daly, a manager at Amoeba Music in San Francisco; and designer Lawrence Azerrad. Pescovitz and Daly are co-founders of Ozma Records.  

In addition to the three records, the box set contains a full-color book featuring the images that were included on the record, and a lithograph of the record's cover diagram. The team financed the print with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, which raised more than $1.36 million, or nearly seven times the original funding goal of $198,000.

Editor's Note: This story previously stated that Azerrad was a co-founder of Ozma Records; he is not. This story has also be updated to clarify that some of the Golden Record's contents are available digitally from NASA, but not the complete recording, as was previously stated.

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Calla Cofield
Senior Writer

Calla Cofield joined's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter