Rock ‘n’ Roll hitches ride to Titan

“Music has always been at the centre of cultures all over the world and it will continue to play an important part in thousands of years time. Music has a role in the same way as technology and science in reflecting the age we live in and generally exploring new areas beyond the accepted boundaries and beyond Earth,” said Mick Jagger on the Music2Titan project.

Four songs ‘Lalala’, ‘Bald James Deans’, ‘Hot Time’ and ‘No Love’, composed by musicians Julien Civange and Louis Haéri, hitched a 4000 million kilometre ride aboard ESA’s Huygens, finally landing on Titan on 14 January. Rock legend Mick Jagger gave his support to this unique initiative.

“The music on board the spacecraft offers a very human touch to the project and at the same time provides an important educational aspect to the mission” said Jagger.

“As well as collecting all the valuable data from the space mission itself we want to leave a trace of our own humanity and to build awareness, especially among young people, about this adventure outside the specific scientific arena” said Huygens project scientist Jean-Pierre Lebreton.

The composers chosen by ESA responded to the request in their own personal way. “Here we are in something highly academic, very official, but our music is mainly rock! It is just like a stowaway, it enables everybody to identify with such a voyage,” said Civange.

Composed as a soundtrack, each piece of music corresponds to a stage in the mission. “Lalala echoes the preparatory stage: the music is simple and bouncing, the basic chords of rock. The people in white overalls, like Playmobil figures, that build a space probe in giant hangars made me think of what I like best in rock: the pure madness that makes a dream real, cost what it costs.”

The second piece, Bald James Deans, has a dramatic tension that evokes the separation between the Cassini spacecraft and the Huygens probe on Christmas Day. Hot Time, a more experimental type of music, relates to the exploration of the ground on Titan. The last piece No Love, is a calm melancholic piece that raises questions related to space exodus.

What happens now? The music, together with the Huygens probe, will remain forever on the surface of Titan… at least as far as we know…

From European Space Agency

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