Space Music: Discovery Wakes up to Shatner, Big Head Todd

"Thanks you, Earth, for (Image courtesy NASA)

Remember NASA's "Space Rock" contest? Well, 2.4 million people cast their online ballots to vote for some orbital wake-up music. Sadly, they were limited to a list of 40 previously played wake-up songs that included such tracks as "Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. Hey, I guess the sight of an orbital sunrise can make just about anything sound good.

Luckily neither Kryptonite nor Train's "Drops of Jupiter" will go down in space music history. The winning track was Blue Sky" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, which was written for the Space Shuttle Discovery's "return to flight" mission in 2005, the first shuttle mission to follow the 2003 Columbia disaster. Fair enough.

You'll have a chance to listen to this live right here on March 8 at 2:23 a.m. Here's a quick fan video of the tune in case you (like me) haven't heard it before: [youtube=]

This morning, however, the Discovery crew woke up to a special greeting from the William Shatner, the actor best known to me as the star of "The Devil's Rain" but most famous for his role as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek." This is what the Shat had to say, per The Register:

"Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30-year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before."

Then ground control flooded Discovery with the classic "Star Trek" theme song by Alexander Courage. There you have it. Space music history. If you're curious to see how the complete voting turned out, NASA has all the stats right here.

As always, you can find the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast on iTunes, Zune and the RSS feed and be sure to check out the other Space Music posts.

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About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.