Did you know that astrophysicist Brian May is a rockstar? Did you know that rockstar Brian May is an astrophysicist? Yes. Astrophysicist and full rockstar, Brian May has done a great thing to commemorate a great thing this week. The lead guitarist of Queen (you may have heard of them), wrote and recorded a single in honor of the New Horizons historic flyby of Ultima Thule. And, it all happened on New Year’s Day.
NASA’s New Horizons accomplished something to start 2019 that no other human-made probe had ever done before. Consider the scope of this encounter. New Horizons tracked and pinpointed the location of a 22-mile wide object that lies about 4 billion miles from Earth in the Kuplier Belt. The probe got within 2,200 miles of the object, nicknamed Ultima Thule, for a close look. It was the most distant object encounter for any spacecraft in human history.
It is such an epic accomplishment that it required an epic response. A rock-sponse, if you will. So, Brian May and lyricist Don Black got to work. May said that he was initially hesitant to take on the task, saying, “I thought this was going to be hard, because I can’t think of anything that rhymes with Ultima Thule,”. But, he decided to focus on the spirit of curiosity and human achievement that the event encapsulates. The song is embedded with three quotes from the late, great Stephen Hawking and celebrates the entirety of the New Horizons mission.
“This became a song which is an anthem to human endeavor,” May said. “The human race explores because it needs to know.” space.com
Take a listen, be inspired and keep looking up. 2019, here we come.
Celebrating the whole 12-year Journey of New Horizons probe. This is Brian’s personal tribute to the on-going NASA New Horizons mission, which on New Years Day 2019 achieved the most distant spacecraft flyby in history.