Brian May, an astrophysicist and the renowned lead guitarist of rock band Queen, releases a soundtrack of New Horizons' flyby of the distant object Ultima Thule.
Titled "New Horizons," May launched the brand-new single just after midnight on New Year's Day, underlining the flyby. The NASA spacecraft traveled fast half an hour later within 3,500 kilometers of Ultima Thule.
Brian May On Making 'New Horizons' Song
On Monday, Dec. 31, May spoke with the press prior to the flyby of Ultima Thule by NASA New Horizons spacecraft scheduled on Jan. 1, 2019. He revealed that Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator and a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, requested if he could write a song for the mission. At first, he said, he would think about it but did it anyway.
"I thought this was going to be hard because I can't think of anything that rhymes with Ultima Thule," he said.
According to May, the New Horizons mission is all about human curiosity and the need for humankind to go out and explore.
"This became a song which is an anthem to human endeavor," May said. "The human race explores because it needs to know."
Ultima Thule Mission
New Horizons officially marks its historic visit to Ultima Thule, which is known to be the most distant celestial body and the first small object in the Kuiper Belt ever visited by a spacecraft. The 35-kilometer long bowling pin-shaped Ultima Thule is located around 6.4 billion kilometers from Earth.
New Horizons had recorded its monumental flyby of Pluto in July 2015. More than three years later, the U.S. space agency's spacecraft now made the flyby of its second target officially called 2014 MU69, which the mission team dubbed as Ultima Thule.
Dr. Brian May received his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at London's Imperial College in 2007. He became a member of the New Horizons team in 2015, during the Pluto flyby. As a lead guitarist of Queen, one of the legendary rock bands, May wrote a number of the band's hits, including "We Will Rock You."
May's latest song about Ultima Thule flyby is now available on iTunes and other music streaming services. According to May, he and his colleagues also created a YouTube video that will narrate the story of the mission team. This video will soon be available.
Meanwhile, check out the "New Horizons" video below: