of the Phonograph
The Phonograph Lives! - Voyager
1 and Voyager 2
revolution that began with the Phonograph is a continuum.
We still have record players and descendent
technologies that record and reproduce sound waves.
And most remarkably, launched one hundred
years after the invention of the phonograph, Voyager 1 and
Voyager 2 are travelling in interstellar space each carrying
a phonograph record that is Earth's "message
in the bottle" and "greetings from Earth" (3).
Voyager 1 launched on September
5, 1977 (100 years after the invention of the Phonograph) -
Mounting the Golden Record
The "Golden Record"
attached to the side of Voyager 1 (5)
The audio of the Voyager's
Golden Record is designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per
The following was provided by NASA/JPL on
their Voyager web page regarding the record cover's instructions
for extraterrestrial operation of the 'phonograph'.
The information in the upper right-hand
portion of the cover is designed to show how pictures are to
be constructed from the recorded signals. The top drawing shows
the typical signal that occurs at the start of a picture. The
picture is made from this signal, which traces the picture as
a series of vertical lines, similar to ordinary television (in
which the picture is a series of horizontal lines). Picture
lines 1, 2 and 3 are noted in binary numbers, and the duration
of one of the "picture lines," about 8 milliseconds, is noted.
The drawing immediately below shows how these lines are to be
drawn vertically, with staggered "interlace" to give the correct
picture rendition. Immediately below this is a drawing of an
entire picture raster, showing that there are 512 vertical lines
in a complete picture. Immediately below this is a replica of
the first picture on the record to permit the recipients to
verify that they are decoding the signals correctly. A circle
was used in this picture to ensure that the recipients use the
correct ratio of horizontal to vertical height in picture reconstruction.
Images, sounds and music on the Voyager's
"Golden Record" are intended to represent life on
planet Earth. However, as Carl Sagan noted, the record will
only be played "if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations
in interstellar space") (6).
Perhaps the "Golden Record" will
never be played. But there is still the mind-bending possibility
that the Voyager record will exist longer than humans on Earth.
Visit the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website, read more about the
"Golden Record" and see real-time numbers of how far
these golden records have travelled.
The Phonograph Lives! - The
Icarus and Third Man Records - July 2, 2016
The record has been set by the Icarus Craft
(balloon) for the furthest from Earth that a record has ever
Jack White's Third Man Records played
a record high in Earth's atmosphere on July 2, 2016, using a
ballloon and a "spaceproof" turntable. The goal of the mission
was to send a vinyl record up as high as possible and document
it being played there.
During its ascent of one hour and twenty
minutes, "the Icarus turntable played Carl Sagan's "A
Glorious Dawn" (from “Cosmos” by
Symphony of Science composer John Boswell) on repeat, using
an impressively sturdy phono cartridge and stylus as well as
an onboard flight computer programmed with a few different actions
to keep the record playing while it was safe to do so."
Voyager 1 and 2 have obviously
gone billions of miles further than the Icarus. But the Voyagers
have yet to play its record while in space.
For now, the Icarus Craft launched by Third
Man Records has the record for distance in space that a record
has been played.
Courtesy Third Man Records,
Here is a link to the Third Man Records
describing the historic record playing event including a video
that captures the launch in its entirety
and a shorter recap video.
Courtesy Third Man Records,
additional information about the Phonograph Revolution in
the 21st Century visit
Sound - A Changing Revolution