In Honor of Telstar, I Give You the Nerdiest Elvis Album Cover

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Elvis never met a broadcast satellite he didn't like.

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50 years ago this month, the first Telstar communications satellite blasted off into space and began to relay information across vast distances. Almost 11 years later, three years after the moon landing drew a live audience of 500 million, Elvis Presley decided to put on a show in Hawaii and broadcast it around the world. For many years, it was rumored this show had a TV viewership of over a billion people. That would have been a pretty tremendous thing, given that the world population was probably just shy of four billion back then. Sadly, this is almost certainly not true.

However, somewhere north of 100 million people probably did watch the King perform in one of the satellite broadcasts in 38 countries. And more importantly, an album was made of the performance with a cover that showcased Elvis being bundled into a satellite and sent round the globe. This thing is glorious: The King + Space + Trippy Typeface! All I can say is, "Take that, Communism!"

It is most appropriate that he opened the show with his own version of "Also sprach Zarathustra," the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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