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Music on Mars


“Good Morning, Starshine. The Earth says “hello.” You twinkle above us, we twinkle below...”  Those are the opening lyrics to a song from the musical, "Hair."  Would that be the song you’d want to take with you to Mars? Or maybe….  "Mars, the Bringer of War” from Gustav Holst’s “The Planets?”

There has been lots of talk recently about scientific, and even touristy, trips to Mars, maybe even starting in our lifetime.

And of course, there’s a lot of excitement over what Tesla founder Elon Musk is going to say about his Mars Transporter on September 27th.

And earlier this week a hologram of Apollo 11 astronaut/moonwalker Buzz Aldrin encouraged visitors at the Kennedy Space Center to “walk on Mars.” It’s part of a limited engagement holographic exhibition called “Destination Mars” where you’ll be transported, using holographic technology, onto the surface of the Red Planet. The whole experience lasts only 8 minutes... but reporters who have tried it already say it feels completely realistic as one walks on imagery provided by NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover.

Let’s face it, this exhibit may be the closest thing most of us will ever come to actually traveling to Mars - that is, if you can even get down to the Kennedy Space Center before the exhibit closes on January 1st.

All this talk reminded me that the Voyager Mission is still out in deep space going where no man has ever gone before.

It carries The Golden Record---literally what looks like a gold LP on which are embedded scenes and sounds of Planet Earth and its inhabitants. The “sounds” include classical music pieces by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Holborne and Stravinsky, chosen with the hope that alien beings would get to understand the human beings who sent it just by hearing our music.

If you could travel to Mars (minimum of a 3 year round-trip, says NASA) what one (yes, one)  piece of classical music would you absolutely have to have with you? Would it be one of those already traveling on the Voyager?  Would you choose something that would comfort you? Inspire you? Help you connect to your humanity out there in the deep black of space? 

We’d love to know your piece!  Tweet it with our hashtag, #MusicforMars.  Who knows---maybe our list will make it aboard one of these Mars trips. We'll include some of our favorites here.

Studying whether there's life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there's something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. That's something that is almost part of being human, and I'm certain that will continue.    ~Sally Ride

I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.   ~Elon Musk

Laura Carlo is the Morning Program Host for CRB.