Saturday, February 02, 2008

Beatles Go Intergalactacal

In an excersize of total futility, NASA is wasting taxpayer money Monday to beam The Beatles' "Across the Universe" to the North Star, Polaris, 2.5 quadrillion miles away. It will take 431 years to reach Polaris and can't be heard without an antenna.

The Associated Press wrote:

This first-ever beaming of a radio song by the space agency directly into deep space is nostalgia-driven. It celebrates the 40th anniversary of the song, the 45th anniversary of NASA's Deep Space Network, which communicates with its distant probes, and the 50th anniversary of NASA.

"Send my love to the aliens," Paul McCartney told NASA through a Beatles historian. "All the best, Paul."

NASA loaded an MP3 of the song, just under four minutes in its original version, and will transmit it digitally at 7 p.m. EST Monday from its giant antenna in Madrid, Spain. But if you wanted to hear it on Polaris, you would need an antenna and a receiver to convert it back to music, the same way people receive satellite television.

The idea came from Martin Lewis, a Los Angeles-based Beatles historian, who then got permission from McCartney, Yoko Ono and the two companies that own the rights to Beatles' music. One of those companies, Apple, was happy to approve the idea because is "always looking for new markets," Lewis said.

Given the state of the world right now, they should have sent Helter Skelter.


VoxMoose said...

I understand why many might regard this as a futile waste of taxpayer dollars, but I personally love this kind of thing. I agree that sending a Beatles song into space is a little bit transparently "feel good." But it works for me. In reality it costs essentially nothing to do this and the payoff could be quite large (granted in 1000 years). Both active (sending real signals) and passive (listening for signals) SETI have been going on for a while. The operating cost of the *entire* NASA SETI program over 10 years (not just this exercise) literally costs about as much as a *single wheel* on one B2 bomber. Seems a worthy cause to me.

VoxMoose said...

Sorry, I'm getting silly about this. But also to help set the monetary scale, the amount of *taxes* Paul McCartney alone paid in just 2005 could run the entire SETI program for over 3 years.

Isorski said...

Dude, as soon as those SETI guys discover life out there, make contact with it, and these alien freaks come to Earth and go Independence Day on our asses, I am going to be very upSETI (get it?).

You know me. I dig this shit, too. Just getting wiggy on you. Hey, how is the trash can boy doing? Still having your cans arranged?

VoxMoose said...

No new updates on the garbage situation. Still doing a few "experiments" but no results...

The upSETI situation you raised is not only a good pun, but it is a really good point. Although I like the idea, as you said, this whole SETI thing could definitely a be a "careful what you wish for" situation mixed with "best intentions going amok."

NASA has sent Rock and Roll into space before. On Voyager in 1977 there was a gold record that contained, amongst other things:
Johnny B. Goode, a tune by Louis Armstrong, and a blues tune by Blind Willie Johnson:

The Pioneer plaque in 1977 even had porn: