Friday, August 27th, 2010
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What Song Should NASA Astronauts Wake Up To In Space?

mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kidsOh my God, psyched! As if they read the Awl and know what a crappy August we've all been having, the folks at NASA are holding a contest where the public can choose "wake-up music" for the astronauts who man the penultimate space shuttle voyage, mission STS-133, scheduled to launch November 1st. Go to the NASA website, where you can listen to 40 songs that have been piped in to start astronauts' days on past missions (and you get to hear the radio communication back and forth with ground control, too) and vote for your favorites. I voted for Elton John's "Rocket Man," because… What do you mean because? I would have maybe chosen Bowie's "Space Oddity," but that one isn't available (understandable, when you think about how it ends). You can follow the tally, too. Here are the current vote leaders.

"Star Trek" theme, Alexander Courage: 309,597
"Magic Carpet Ride," Steppenwolf: 251,110
"Countdown," Rush: 201,871

That's so awesome that the "Star Trek" theme and Rush are up there! The astronauts' fate is in the hands Trekkers or pimply-faced thirteen-year-old-boys (and, ahem, the responsible adults they grow into). The astronauts must be like, "Oh, man, please don't let those Rush geeks win!" Actually, most astronauts are probably Rush geeks themselves, so… And, man, if Steppenwolf gets piped up there, that's gonna be one groovy, smoked-out cabin. They should send up a bong shaped like a booster rocket! Other good choices are Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" and Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" (God bless them!), but I'm pulling for "Rocket Man." Strangely, Gil Scott-Heron's "Whitey On the Moon," is not among the selections.

There's also another contest, to choose music for the final space shuttle mission, STS-134, scheduled to launch on February 26, 2011. In this one, you can submit your own original music, and NASA will select top entries that the public can vote for. So, Dre, get those demos in by January 10.

37 Comments / Post A Comment

Rollo (#3,202)

Doctor Who theme song.

Rollo (#3,202)

That space shuttle has a very big dance floor.

Peter Schilling – Major Tom (Coming Home)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvHJ8OCfO9c

Dave Bry (#422)

I'd never seen that German video before. It's wunderbar! Thanks, Clarence.

@Dave Bry: Us Rush fans have to stick together.

Dave Bry (#422)

I got your back, Bytor.

iantenna (#5,160)

pearls before swine/tom rapp – rocket man. the ispiration for the other one that made much more money.

"we didn't steal that one from bowie, we stole it from another guy, called tom rapp…" – bernie taupin

Jeff Carpenter (#3,752)

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you that 'Magic Carpet Ride' was an important part of the 8th Star Trek film. So it's too late. No matter what happens, the Trekkers already won.

Jeff Carpenter (#3,752)

And lest anyone think my own Treky-ness dooms me to groupthink, I must make it clear that my choice would have been this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iiryJwvDtc

roboloki (#1,724)

they need something to get their blood pumping. i humbly submit http://tinyurl.com/2ufutp3

MatthewGallaway (#1,239)

I voted for Rocket Man, too. I understand skipping Space Oddity, but how could they not have 'Starman'?

Dave Bry (#422)

Oh man, right! Let all the astronauts boogie. And no horrible lonely death trip.

Nevermind "Ashes to Ashes".

mrschem (#1,757)

Or 'Wont Get Fooled Again.'

C_Webb (#855)

If I had to wake up every morning to Thomas Dolby, I … well, I wouldn't. That is all. Fly your own damn spaceship, Public.

roboloki (#1,724)

in space, no one can hear you screech.

egad (#1,355)

Oh god, the sadist in me wants everyone to vote for this.

So, the first time I dropped acid in college (Berkeley, naturally!), 3 friends and I found ourselves in the empty Greek Theater at 11pm. For some reason, while I watched the pine trees melt, Digital Underground's "Humpty Dance" was stuck in my head. While I dig that song, it was totally inappropriate for my trip, and therefore was sort of stressing me out.

So I ambled over to one of my friends, sitting half an amphitheater away. I nervously told him about the song I had stuck in my head. He calmly turned to me and said "I've got 'Magic Carpet Ride' stuck in mine."

And just like that, the jukebox switched records, and I was completely happy with "Magic Carpet Ride" being looped in my LSD-ridden head.

So, yeah, I'm still going with Rush.

iantenna (#5,160)

the first time i got blackout drunk in college (berkeley, not so naturally) was at a frat party at which a much-past-his-prime shock g was performing. synergy!

The 7th time (estimate) I did coke in college (Berkeley, mais of course!)was off a toilet seat in Zellerbach Hall minutes before I went on stage as an extra in August Strinberg's A Dream Play. Later that evening we listened to Tower of Power.

@you guys: we need a REUNION of Awl Cal Grads.

@clarence: You're osking for it. Bear's Lair East!

@NAC: $3 32oz. Newcastles FTW ;sad;;kfdsakdjfkdsak;aksd!

egad (#1,355)

I'm sorry. There is only one song for this.

I am usually not a huge Arcade Fire fan… but all this Bowie talk… well, listen for yourselves:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-wEBmLht5g

Maybe other Bowie choices like Moonage Daydream? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p70cnjBJ-Zk

Ok, I lied, other rocking space themed tunes good for waking up:
Marquee Moon by Television
Stars by Brian Jonestown Massacre
Astronaut and All by the Foals
My Love is Like a Spaceship by Fabienne Delsol
Mothership Connection by Parliament

I'd like to say Sail to the Moon by Radiohead, but it'd be a slow start.

laurel (#4,035)

Rocket Man? Are you trying to wake them up or make them cry?!

keisertroll (#1,117)

They're trying to make them laugh:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN3MGN899yE

Slappy (#5,332)

Whaa? Get up in there and represent, Star Wars fans! Can't let those Trek nerds dominate us like this. Go play the opening five seconds of the Star Wars theme. You'll feel like you can fly and shoot plasma bursts out of your fists.

untitled HD (#4,555)

Personally I would vote for "Music for Airports" by Brian Eno, so they would
not actually wake up, until much later on,

but that is just how I conduct my day.

(go ahead, Nikko, call me an idiot again.. in seven years, I'll take you on..)

ow that hurt (#3,919)

NASA finally got ringtones??

LondonLee (#922)

Christ, nerds have such bad taste in music.

This would be my choice

Tracey Chandler (#7,153)

Great post! Although I would go for 9 to 5 by Bonnie Tyler myself! Going into space is just a job where the boss breaks your balls anyway, after all!

kpants (#719)

I'd write in votes for either:
Parliament's Mothership Connection
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4UpguKcO18

or

Crowded House's Distant Sun
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1pyvnw9Sko

Because no one should be threatened with the possibility of mandatory Jimmy Buffet ever, let alone first thing in the morning.

HiredGoons (#603)

Thus Spake Zarathustra or the Blue Danube.

Aleks Chan (#3,288)

"Tik ToK"

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