"Moonshot" - Dean & Britta (2003)
"Transbordador Espacial" - Fred i Son (2010)
On this eighth anniversary of the completion of STS-114, NASA’s first “return to flight” space shuttle mission after the Columbia accident, please to enjoy this most excellent song by the Catalan jangle pop group, Fred i Son. With a title that translates to “Space Shuttle,” the tune both commemorates the fallen Columbia astronauts and celebrates Discovery’s safe landing by Commander Eileen Collins on August 9, 2005. As the song hints, bad weather forced the shuttle to land that day not at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida but at the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California.
“NASA says the space shuttle
can’t land at Cape Canaveral
There are electrical clouds that can cause
damage to the heat shield, which is very delicate,
and which some years ago caused the disintegration of a shuttle
and its eight crew members
Commander Collins will start up the engines
for two minutes and 40 seconds
to deorbit, belly down
And thus cross through the atmosphere
And thus cross through the atmosphere”
"Constellation of the Heart" - Kate Bush (1993)
Happy birthday to Ms. Kate Bush, who was recently appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire!
Steer your life by these stars
On the unconditional chance
'Tis here where Hell and Heaven dance
This is the constellation of the heart
We take all the telescopes
And we turn them inside out
And we point them away from the big sky
Put your eye right up to the glass, now
And here we’ll find the constellation of the heart
The constellation of the heart
The constellation of the heart
"N.A.S.A." - Futurecop! (2009)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was born 55 years ago today when the National Aeronautics and Space Act was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower. Happy birthday to the best space agency on the planet!
"What a Wonderful World" - Louis Armstrong (1967)
Posting a few days late, since I got a little busy helping out with The Day The Earth Smiled, which took place one week ago today. Definitely do not want to let the moment pass unrecognized, however… It was a day on which Earthlings took a break from their hectic lives to go outside and smile and wave at the Saturn-orbiting Cassini spacecraft, which was set to turn its two visible-light cameras Earthward for what is likely to be one last fleeting snapshot of home. It was a truly cosmic event in the history of our species, one that reminded me — and many others who participated — that despite the madness, the carelessness, and the ugliness we often face, all the magic we’ve ever known is sitting right here on this tiny, wonderful world.
By the way, the photos Cassini returned earlier this week are breathtaking…
"Like Sally Ride" - Wesley California (2012)
Sally K. Ride, physicist, teacher, first American woman in space, and soon-to-be Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, would have turned 62 today had the world not lost her to pancreatic cancer last summer. Soon after her death, independent electro-pop artist Wesley California captured the essence of Ride’s early space adventures with this sweet tune… It recalls the promise that Ride brought to kids, especially girls, back in the 1980s, that they, too, could reach the stars if they persisted in working toward their dreams. Happy birthday, Sally. We miss you.
"Space Oddity" - Chris Hadfield (2013)
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is set to return to Earth tonight after a successful five-month stay on the International Space Station. As a thank you to his adoring fans, Hadfield yesterday released this clever cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity!” From his perch above our little blue planet, Hadfield has done an amazing job of singing his heart out and of promoting music education. Astrotunes salutes you, Commander. Welcome home!
"Eclipse" - Pink Floyd (1973)
In honor of today’s annular solar eclipse, a timeless classic from British prog-rockers Pink Floyd. “Eclipse” is the final track on the group’s most successful album, The Dark Side of the Moon, which was recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios in 1972 and ‘73. With its famous lyrics, “And everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon,” “Eclipse” is often played together with the record’s penultimate song, “Brain Damage.” Last summer, it was featured in a montage toward the end of the London Olympics’ opening ceremony.
"Third Stone from the Sun" - Jimi Hendrix (1967)
Don’t ask, just listen. You’ll get even more if you can double the playback speed…
"Aurora Awakes" - John Mackey (2009)
Posting this on the occasion of Joan Feynman's 86th birthday, which was yesterday. Feynman, the younger sister of renowned physicist Richard Feynman, is a well-respected physicist in her own right, specializing in interactions between Earth and the solar wind. As a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab, Feynman made an important discovery about the nature of auroras: They are formed when the magnetic field of the solar wind interacts with Earth's magnetosphere. I urge you to listen to her story about her older brother, Richard, introducing her to auroras so many years ago…and how these dancing light displays would, in many ways, become her life’s calling.
See also: Happy Birthday, Joan Feynman