One of the best pop culture references to science this year came from Third Man Records, an indie record label by musician Jack White. It sent and played a record player in outer space last July, in celebration of its seventh anniversary. Needless to say, the record label is nothing short of ambitious for going all up just to go all out.
For the stunt, they designed and built their own turntable and balloon-propelled craft called the Icarus. As it ascended to an altitude that is considered as outer space, it kept playing for the enjoyment of our extraterrestrial friends. That folks, is how you make friends in really high places. Now all you audiophiles out there are probably already wondering how it sounded. Not exactly as good as the best record player on earth, but below is a video for you to review yourself.
During the event, there were exclusive parties, live entertainment and limited edition merchandise in Third Man stores in Nashville and Detroit. For those who didn’t make it to the event, the launch’s live webcast was made available for streaming online. It started working on the 30th of July, and everything went according to plan.
This is claimed to be the first ever vinyl that got played at such an altitude. However, this isn’t actually the first music in outer space, because astronauts have long been bringing cassette tapes on their trips. (No, Star-Lord’s Awesome Mix Vol. 1 doesn’t count.) For the Third Man record player to work, they probably made it so that some form of atmosphere is in it. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have gone high enough to at least reach the nearest part of outer space.
It should be noted that the Icarus didn’t actually brought the first playable vinyl to outer space. The first was the golden records that were aboard the Voyager spacecraft that launched in 1977. They were meant to be played by extraterrestrial beings, unlike the Icarus which played Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn” as it flew.