Beatles Song Beamed Into Space
For the first time ever, NASA beamed a song - the Beatles' "Across the Universe" - directly into deep space in 2008. The transmission took place at 6PM Pacific Time on Monday, February 4th.
The transmission over NASA's Deep Space Network commemorated the 40th anniversary of the day the Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA's founding. Two other anniversaries also are being honored: the launch 50 years ago of U.S. satellite Explorer 1 and the founding 45 years ago of the Deep Space Network, an international network of antennas that supports missions to explore the universe.
The transmission was aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is 431 light years away from Earth. The song travels across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.
Paul McCartney expressed excitement that the tune, which was principally written by fellow Beatle John Lennon, was being beamed into the cosmos.
"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" McCartney said in a message to the agency. "Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul."
Yoko Ono characterized the song's transmission as a significant event.
"I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe," she said.
It's not the first time Beatles music has been used by NASA; in November 2005, Sir Paul performed "Good Day Sunshine" during a concert that was transmitted to the International Space Station. "Here Comes the Sun," "Ticket to Ride" and "A Hard Day's Night" are among other Beatles' songs that have been played to wake astronaut crews in orbit.
"I've been a Beatles fan for 45 years, as long as the Deep Space Network has been around," said Dr. Barry Geldzahler, the network's program executive at NASA in Washington. "What a joy, especially considering that 'Across The Universe' is my personal favorite Beatles song."