Will.i.am Song Is No. 1 on Mars
Luminary rap star will.i.am is now an interplanetary phenomenon.It stretches the boundaries of music wider than ever before. It’s also a little kooky too…
In yet another space exploration first, an orchestral tune written and performed by the Black-Eyed Peas front man was beamed back to Earth on Tuesday by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover. Launch with Curiosity aboard an Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station last November, the song – entitled “Reach For The Stars” — is the first musical composition to be transmitted to Earth from another planet.
The unprecedented radio communications came about after NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden called the entertainer — a space geek who went to a science magnet school — and asked if he wanted to join the agency’s effort to attract young students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes.
“So I asked the question: ‘Hey, what do you guys got coming up?’ He said, ‘We’ve got a rocket got a rocket going to Mars,’” will.i.am told students from the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, where he was raised in the Estrada Courts housing projects.
The students had gathered at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for the big event. “I said, ‘Hey, did you ever think about putting a song on the rocket, so when the rocket lands (the song) comes back to Earth?’” the entertainer recalled. ‘’And so, he said, ‘Who’s going to do the song?’ And I said, ‘Are you serious?’ ”
That was February 2011, and even after all those months, will.i.am said it was “surreal’ to actually hear the transmission come back from the red planet. The first verse:
Why they say the sky is the limit
When I’ve seen the footprints on the moon
Why do they say the sky is the limit
When I’ve seen the footprints on the moon
And I know the sky might be high
But baby it ain’t really that high
And I know that Mars might be far
But baby it ain’t really that far
Let’s reach for the stars
A fan of classical music, will.i.am did not want to send a computer-generated beat —a dance song — to Mars. So he put together a 40-piece orchestra together to show musicians practicing their craft. He wanted to send a work of art to the red planet.
“I didn’t want to do a song that was done on computer. I wanted to show human cooperation and have an orchestra there, and (create) something that would be timeless, and translate to different cultures,” the entertainer said. Aiming to inspire young students, he also enlisted a children’s choir to sing parts of the song.
The effort was not the first time will.i.am has teamed up with NASA. He was featured in a 2011 NASA promotional video that highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for young students. That, too, is the aim of the song.
“It’s a reminder that anything is possible if you discipline yourself, and dedicate yourself and stand for something,” he said. “We don’t have to end up in the ’hood.” Source: Florida Today. Contact Halvorson at email@example.com
First Song Transmitted from Another Planet
For the first time in history, a recorded song has been beamed back to Earth from another planet.Its historical and a definite first. Here’s more of the story….
Students, special guests and news media gathered at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., rec ently to hear “Reach for the Stars” by musician will.i.am after it was transmitted from the surface of Mars by the Curiosity rover.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden addressed the crowd in a video message encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “Mars has always fascinated us, and the things Curiosity tells us about it will help us learn about whether or not life was possible there,” Bolden said. “And what future human explorers can expect. will.i.am has provided the first song on our playlist of Mars exploration.”
In opening remarks, NASA Associate Administrator for Education and space shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin said, “I can think of no greater way to honor NASA pioneer Neil Armstrong‘s life and legacy than to inspire today’s students to follow his path. That first footprint that Neil placed on the lunar surface left an indelible mark in history. Perhaps one of our students here today or watching on NASA Television will be the first to set foot on the surface of Mars and continue humanity’s quest to explore.”
Musician and entrepreneur will.i.am shared his thoughts about “Reach for the Stars” becoming the first interplanetary song and an anthem for NASA education. The entertainer is a well-known advocate of science and technology education. He said, “Today is about inspiring young people to lead a life without limits placed on their potential and to pursue collaboration between humanity and technology through STEAM education. I know my purpose is to inspire young people, because they will keep inspiring me back.”
- With students and NASA space shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin looking on, musical artist will.i.am posts a tweet soon after his song “Reach for the Stars” is beamed back from the Curiosity Mars rover and broadcast to a live audience at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
After completing a journey of more than 700 million miles from Earth to Mars and back, the opening orchestral strains of “Reach for the Stars” filled the auditorium. The event added to continuing worldwide interest in Curiosity’s mission.
NASA engineers spoke to attendees about the Curiosity mission, and the systems engineering and orbital mechanics involved in getting the song file back from Mars. Students had the opportunity to ask questions of all program participants. Earlier in the day, students received a guided tour of JPL to view rover models and learn about STEM career options.
During the event, will.i.am’s i.am angel Foundation and Discovery Education announced a $10 million classroom education initiative that will reach 25 million students annually, including many from underserved communities. Focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) educational themes, the Discovery Education initiative will incorporate NASA content and space exploration themes as part of the curriculum. The event will be replayed on NASA Television. For schedule information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv . Source: NASA Press Release