Photo. Paal Brekke after his astrorock show at Verket Scene in the town of Moss, Norway.
What happens if you experience the combination of rock music and space exploration? It must be experienced, and you will clearly understand: the sky is no longer the limit! Pål Brekke`s multimedia presentation convinced me of that. He used rock music to tell about history of exploration and what happening in space right now. The best way to visualize the uniqueness of the outer space is playing some good pieces of music. As I could learn, it was a close connection here. Brekke's great show made me feel like floating in space, with stars in my eyes. And maybe travel in time too. Fortunately I am glad I landed safely with both my feet on earth again.
Shooting stars, UFO observations, the explosive sun, and the Northern Lights are sources of imagination and awe that drives exploration of the world around us. Many music artists got their breakthrough with space-related songs. Elton John broke through with "Rocket Man", David Bowie's first hit was "Space Oddity". And Pink Floyd's debut album includes the song "Astronomy Domine" and the legendary Dark Side of the Moon is known to everyone. Queen sings about Einstein's theory of relativity, and guitarist Brian May completed his PhD in astrophysics in 1987. On the evening the audience experience samples of famous hits along with spectacular videos and animations from space including the latest James Webb Space Telescope.
It started with Frank Sinatra's version of “Fly Me to the Moon”. This song was also the first music heard on the moon as Aldrin stepped onto the surface. It was previously played during the Apollo 10 mission. The first song played on the Moon was "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra, although it was not played directly on the Moon's surface but rather in the command module of the Apollo 11 spacecraft while it orbited the Moon. Astronaut Michael Collins, who was orbiting the Moon alone in the command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the lunar surface, played the song as a humorous nod to their mission.
The actual moonwalk by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969, did not feature music, as they were focused on their tasks and communication with mission control. However, the choice of "Fly Me to the Moon" by Michael Collins added a touch of whimsy and cultural significance to the historic Apollo 11 mission.
The Norwegian Paal Brekke, Pål Brekke, is originally a solar physicist astrophysicist, a well-known expert on the northern lights and an internationally recognized lecturer. He has worked for many years at the NASA Goddard Space Flights Center as deputy commander of the legendary solar satellite SOHO. He is the author of several international popular science books about the sun and the northern lights, translated into seven languages. Often used as a TV commentator on space affairs. He is a member of the exclusive Explorers Club in New York.
Pål Brekke is now a lead - senior advisor - at the Norwegian Space Agency. He is a Norwegian delegate to the ESA Science Programme Committee (SPC), Programme Board of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration (HEM) and Situational Awareness (SSA). He is also a delegate to the International Living With a Star (ILWS). Served on several NASA Review Panels and as referee for various scientific journals. International recognized lecturer on the Sun, The Sun Earth connection and the Northern Lights. He has published several popular science books (source: based on information from Wikipedia).
What can we learn about space from rock music? There are some great songs about space exploration, astronauts, stars, sun, moon, black holes, sattelites, UFOs and extraterrestrials. These songs aren’t meant to be scientific. Actually are some songs inspired from historical events, but many artists also use space as a metaphor for something else. Anyway some of songs make a huge inspiration for space explorations. And perhaps you can get som new perspectives.
When listening to old songs by Vangelis, Brekke told us that they were used in the TV series Kosmos with Carl Sagan. We heard Queen sang about travelling at the speed of light and Einstein's theory of relativity. It`s science fiction, but could also be a prediction? Not only this, as mentioned, Queen guitarist Brian May has a PhD in astrophysics. He had really the knowlegde about the subject he wrote about in the song.
See also photos and videos from the presentation on our Facebook page: Moss Norway Travel Guide.
Further more we heard Katie Melua corrected her "big" blunder in her song "Nine million bicycles". Also listened to Pink Floyd's debut album which includes the song Astronomy Domine and songs from their legendary Dark side of the Moon. And even more rock with artists as David Bowie, REM, A-HA, Sivert Høyem, ELO, Elton John, Muse, Deep Purple, Rush. Mike Oldfield etc. Songs played from these artists represented severel genres and styles, time span, historical incidents and meanings.
Experiencing Paal Brekke`s multimedia presentation with fascinating and educational films, and linked together with top rock music, was really something. If you have genuine rock vibes, and in addition are curious about space exploration, you will guaranteed be floating in space here.
Stein Morten Lund
22nd August 2023
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By Mark Blake( Classic Rock ) last updated September 20, 2022
Pink Floyd may have hated the term ‘space rock’, but in 1988 their music was the chosen soundtrack for the crew of the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz TM-7.
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These were written in the stars.
Some good songs about space:
- Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra.
- Rocket Man by Elton John.
- Starlight by Muse.
- Space Oddity by David Bowie.
- Space Cowboy by Steve Miller Band.
- Andromeda By Paul Weller.
- Space by Murder By Death.
- Spaceman by The Killers.
- Major Tom by Peter Schillling
- Telstar by The Tornados
- Under the milky way by the Church
- Starlight by Muse
Mike Oldfield`s album “The Songs of Distant Earth” (1994)
Based on the science fiction novel of the same name by Arthur C. Clarke, this album explores the destruction of the Earth in the year 3600, after our Sun goes nova.
Best songs about space: 10 sonic booms for interstellar voyagers (Dig - Part of the Warner Recorded Music family)
Capturing a sense of awe and wonder, the best songs about space will take you on a cosmic journey you’ll never forget.
The best space-concept albums in the galaxy (RawRamp)
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Songs for Space (Law): The Fabulous Forty (University of Nebraska-Lincoln - Nebraska College of law)
57 Best Songs About Space & the Universe
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The first song ever played in space was "Jingle Bells."
On December 16, 1965, astronauts Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, aboard the Gemini 6 spacecraft, used a smuggled harmonica and sleigh bells to perform a lighthearted rendition of the popular Christmas carol. They reported to mission control that they had seen a "red-suited" pilot (referring to themselves) with a "long white beard" (created by the condensation inside their helmet) flying their spacecraft. This festive moment marked a historic and whimsical instance of music being performed beyond Earth's atmosphere.
Science Results from the James Webb Space Telescope (University of Oslo Library).
Article about the coming auroras season: Aurora makes a grand entrance in the fall (NordNorsk Reiseliv AS).
Written by Pål Brekke, June 20, 2023, Last updated September 18, 2023