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First time on Earth: Golden Record cover for Voyager mission on display

Media Contact

Daryl Lovell


Three events to commemorate 40th anniversary of the historic Voyager mission – including new multi-media exhibit showcasing never-publicly displayed Golden Record cover, presentation by scientists who worked on Voyager mission, and screening of the final episode of Carl Sagan’s documentary television series, “Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey.”


Oct. 19, 20 and 21


Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.


The events are free and open to the public. Media members are asked to RSVP to Daryl Lovell in Cornell’s Media Relations Office at 607-254-4799 or

ITHACA, N.Y. – Only one human-touched object has ever entered interstellar space: NASA’s Voyager 1, bearing with it greetings to extraterrestrials in the form of a golden record. A special exhibit at Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections will feature one of the handful of Golden Record covers that remain on Earth, never before on public display, courtesy of Ann Druyan.

The pioneering NASA space probes, Voyagers 1 and 2 were launched in 1977 from Cape Canaveral to explore the solar system. They are the only spacecraft to have visited Uranus and Neptune. The gravitational assist from Jupiter that slingshot the Voyagers on the first reconnaissance of the outer solar system will propel them throughout the Milky Way for the next several billion years. Each Voyager bears a complex message affixed to its side in the form of the Golden Record – a 12-inch gold-covered copper record containing greetings, images of life on Earth, world music and other sounds of this planet. They have a shelf life of 1 billion to 5 billion years.

The multi-media exhibit will include images and sounds from the Golden Record, as well as the original book by Isaac Newton that was photographed for the Golden Record and a first-edition, signed copy of Carl Sagan’s “Murmurs of Earth.” A copy of the Voyager Golden Record boxed set, newly issued by Ozma Records and donated by producers Timothy Daly and David Pescovitz, will also be on display.

The exhibit is part of Cornell University’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of Voyagers 1 and 2 and Cornell’s central role in the missions and in the production of the golden record. All events are free, and the public is invited. The free exhibit at Cornell’s Kroch Library will be open on:

  • Thursday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 21 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


“40 Years of Cosmic Discovery: Celebrating the Voyager Missions and Humanity’s Message to Space” begins with a panel at 8 p.m. Oct. 19 in Bailey Hall, introduced by Cornell Provost Michael Kotlikoff, and featuring people who worked on the mission:

• Ann Druyan, Emmy- and Peabody-award winning writer/producer/director and creative director of NASA’s Voyager interstellar message

• Frank Drake, chairman emeritus, SETI Institute and creator of the Drake Equation

• Steve Squyres, Cornell’s James A. Weeks Professor and principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rovers mission

• Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy and director of Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute

• Jonathan Lunine, the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science.


“Unafraid of the Dark,” the final episode of “Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey” that features the Voyager mission, will screen Oct. 20 at 4:45 p.m. at Cornell Cinema and will be introduced by Andrew Hicks, assistant professor of music. After the film Druyan, producer, director and co-writer of the episode, and David Pescovitz, co-founder of Ozma Records, issuer of the Golden Record boxed set, will offer reflections and answer questions.


Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews. For additional information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.