It is worthy of note that the furthest human artifact is 35 year old Voyager that has recently crossed the official boundary into interstellar space. Launched in 1977 Voyager is one of the most outstanding successes of humanity's reach into the infinite and was a revalation in imagery of the solar system.

Voyager carries a gold LP phonograph record with the intent of conveying human endeavour to potential alien companions in the galaxy. Being made of gold it is fundamentally an inert and stable media ... the probe is expected to be near the next Solar System in 40,000 years ... just in case it dosn't get picked up then the record cover has a sample of U238 with a half life of 4.5 million years. This will enable a future encounter to date it accurately in time and the diagrams should tell them where we were in space.

Thus the Voyager LP will become our reach into the future more so than any other of mankinds scriptures.

It is likely to outlive the planet earth as an interstellar message in a bottle. At the moment unfortunately there are no plans for any vehicle to pass Voyager, and given the parlous state of Space Research funding we may never see its like again in our lifetimes.

The contents of the LP form a commentary of human values.

As Carl Sagan noted, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet."

A spoof BBC Radio 4 short play called "Rocket Science" deals with the discovery of a gold disc, from Voyager One, in a secondhand record shop in Margate, UK. Everyone who sees it believes it to be an album made by the symphonic/progressive rock group YES. An alien, called Fortran Five, arrives assuming human form, in search of the disc, and with a mission to wipe out the human race because "he" believes that humans have a beef with alien species ... It is only the fact that Chuck Berry is a human that saves mankind from total destruction ...

The point of this is the perverse fact that as a consumer your longest and best lasting medium for your music is actually analog LP.

Many of our current clients undergo that voyage of discovery that is their record collection when the dusty crates that have time travelled from ones twenties are reopened in ones fifties.

My own recent reincarnation was a record by Al Stewart called "Past, Present, and Future" that I played one side of to death as a student. I assumed on finding this lost disc that it would be unplayable from the remembered dusty evenings ... however it is actually fantastic.

My equipment has changed somewhat ... from the secondhand HMV portable record player with stereo speakers as part of the detacheable lid the album was bought back to life on a Rega P9 with Apheta cartridge through an Ios phono stage into the Denon PMAS1 and Monitor Audio Platinum PL300s that grace the front room of one of our premises.

I had to play the record again and again ... one dosn't really change one's musical likes I believe ... one can only hope to add to it. The sound is dimensionally explicit and full and detailed and entirely devoid of the background noise and faded dynamics I expected. I bought this record in the same year that Voyager was launched and its passage through college life was equivalent to the rigours of an atmospheric reentry, yet the Rega Apheta stylus penetrates the worn upper part of the groove to the virgin valleys of musical information in the unplayed area where the crude conical styli could never reach.