How It Works

What is the Golden Record?

Probably the most recognised record in the world (and beyond) is the Golden Record that was placed aboard the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. It is a 30-centimetre (12-inch) copper phonograph plated with gold and on it is recorded sounds, music and greetings from Earth in 55 languages, including: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, “Hello from the children of planet Earth” in English and the sound of crickets and frogs. It is encased in an aluminium jacket and includes a needle and cartridge along with instructions for any intelligent extraterrestrial life that happens upon Voyager on how to play the record. The record is designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute – half the speed of the 33-1/3 standard for a commercial 12-inch vinyl. Since its launch in 1977, Voyager 1 has travelled nearly 18 billion kilometres (11 billion miles), making the Golden Record one of the few manmade objects to have left the solar system.