Will.I.am debuts new song beamed from Mars
Published Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:47PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 28, 2012 11:40PM EDT
His music has been heard around the world, performed in all manner of venue – from massive arenas to the steps of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s London palace. But now, celebrity music maker Will.I.am can add an out-of-this world venue to his record of performances.
On Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, the American rapper's new song "Reach for the Stars" made its debut when it was beamed back to Earth from the NASA Curiosity rover on Mars.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman wrote the tune as a celebration of his "passion for science, technology and space exploration," according to a statement released by NASA.
Will.I.am was at the U.S. space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. for the event where he helped to launch the space agency's latest science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics initiative for students in kindergarten through grade 12.
The singer was joined by students from the same low-income East Los Angeles neighbourhood as he grew up in.
Will.I.am even shared the stage with another celebrity -- NASA flight director Bobak Ferdowsi, also known as the “Mohawk Guy.”
Ferdowsi and his famous hairdo appeared via webcam along with fellow NASA employees as the song was beamed from Mars.
As the music played, students and staffers were seen moving to the music and snapping photos with their smartphones.
The song, a high-energy track that urges listeners to “reach for the stars,” has several space references in it. It even includes a nod to the space agency with the line “Flying just like NASA, out of space master.”
After the song finished, Will.I.am and NASA engineers were on hand to answer the students’ questions
The artist told the students that the music and entertainment industry he works in has a deep respect for the work that scientists and engineers do.
“My world appreciates the scientists and the engineers that give us the tools to express ourselves and entertain the world. Without scientists we wouldn’t have these tools,” he said.
“There wouldn’t be radio if it wasn’t for people like Nicola Tesla. There wouldn’t be record players and CDs if it wasn’t for all the engineers that champion that technology and passion.”
The singer told the audience that his love of the sciences first sparked after his mother – who was in attendance -- sent him to a specialized science school outside of his neighbourhood.
Will.I.am urged the students work hard to become the next scientists and tech entrepreneurs.
Members of the team overseeing Curiosity's work on Mars were on also on hand, to explain how the song was sent from the Martian surface to Earth.
Despite its $2.5-billion price tag, Curiosity does not have speakers or a flashy stereo system. Instead, Will.I.am's tune is being beamed back via radio waves.
The car-sized robotic rover recently landed on Mars on a 2-year mission to find evidence of whether or not Mars has or had the conditions to support organic life.
Earlier on Tuesday, Daily Planet host Dan Riskin told CTV News Channel that Will.I.am’s partnership with NASA was part of an effort to reignite public interest in the sciences.
“NASA needs people to care about NASA,” he said. “Otherwise they won’t get funding and they won’t have a future.
“If kids grow up as excited about space as people were when Neil Armstrong walked the moon, that’s going to change things,” he said.