Solving the Mystery of Whose Laughter Is On the Golden Record

Jul 5, 2017

By Adrienne LaFrance

The Golden Record was never meant for this planet. Yet it has remained an object of curiosity on Earth, even after decades of hurtling through the void of outer space.

In fact, the Golden Record has had something of a revival lately. For years, there’s been talk of making a modern, internet-crowdsourced follow-up to the original 1977 version. The original record plays a prominent role in the new young-adult novel, See You in the Cosmos, by Jack Cheng. And a recent Kickstarter campaign to reissue the record on vinyl raised nearly $1.4 million, seven times more than its fundraising goal. Last fall, around the time that Kickstarter campaign launched, I found myself revisiting the record’s tracks.

In doing so, I stumbled upon a mystery.

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