It was on this day in 2005 that Paul McCartney played a concert for thousands of fans in the U.S., and for two people aboard the International Space Station.
The live performance, beamed into space, came about after McCartney learned that NASA had used the Beatles song “Good Day Sunshine” as a wakeup call for the astronauts a few months earlier.
And the wakeup call has been a part of space exploration for nearly as long as humans have been up in space.
It all started during the Gemini 6 mission in 1965, when Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford woke up to a version of “Hello Dolly!” as sung by Jack Jones.
From then on, music has been a part of the mornings for those orbiting the Earth (though astronauts move through all the time zones while they’re up there, so, in most cases, morning on a space station is usually set at what’s morning for Mission Control on the ground).
The Capsule Commander of the mission, aka the CAPCOM, is the person in charge of choosing the music, though they often get help from astronauts’ family, friends and colleagues to find out what music they like.
Patriotic songs are common; so are space-themed ones, like David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” or “Rocket Man” by Elton John.
Louis Armstrong’s iconic version of “What A Wonderful World” took on a new meaning when NASA played it during one mission.
And sometimes, things get silly, like in 2001, when shuttle mission STS-69 woke up to “Who Let The Dogs Out” by Baha Men.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, used her turn as a capsule commander to play a clip from the Muppets’ “Pigs In Space” sketch for the humans up there.
There’s no indication this tradition is going to stop anytime soon, but maybe they could expand out a little and add a few podcasts in for the astronauts to hear too? I know a good one.
Television has been widescreen for a few years now, but a lot of classic shows still air, and still in the old format.
An illustrator in California, Nick Acosta, decided to fix that – kind of.
He’s created screenshots of scenes from the original “Star Trek” series in widescreen, so we could see what this show from the 1960s would look like in 2020… which is several hundred years before it takes place?
I dunno, ahead warp factor 44 or whatever.
Paul McCartney Sings To Space Crew (CBS News)
The Final Frontier (Futility Closet)