In 1977, two extraordinary spacecraft called Voyager were launched to the stars. Affixed to each Voyager craft was a gold-coated copped phonograph record as a message to possible extra-terrestrial civilizations that might encounter the spacecraft in some distant space and time. Each record contained 118 photographs of our planet; almost 90 minutes of the world's greatest music; an evolutionary audio essay on "The Sounds of Earth"; and greetings in almost sixty human languages (and one whale language). This book is an account, written by those chiefly responsible for the contents of the Voyager Record, of why they did it, how they selected the repertoire, and precisely what the record contains.
Introductory music from the original score for COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey composed by Alan Silvestri, used with permission from Cosmos Studios, Inc. and Chappers Music. All rights reserved. Special thanks to Fuzzy Planets, Inc.
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Carl Sagan (1934-1996) was the Director of Cornell University’s Laboratory for Planetary Studies. He played a leading role in the American space program and was an adviser to NASA since its inception. He briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on the Mariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileo expeditions to the planets. He helped solve the mysteries of the high temperatures of Venus (answer: massive greenhouse effect), the seasonal changes on Mars (answer: windblown dust), and the reddish haze of Titan (answer: complex organic molecules). For his work, Dr. Sagan received the NASA medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for The Dragons of Eden. His 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage won the Emmy and Peabody awards. The National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science... his gifts to mankind were infinite.”
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