Reach for the Stars

Album: #willpower (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • Will.i.am wrote this song in February 2011, after NASA asked him to write and produce a song for the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars. The Black Eyed Pea rapper was present at Cape Canaveral, Florida, alongside NASA employees when the rover made its successful initial landing on the planet. A few weeks later this ode to will.i.am's "passion for science, technology and space exploration" was broadcast live from the surface of Mars, via Curiosity, to a news conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The aptly-astral titled song was the first ever music broadcast from another planet.
  • The Black Eyed Pea rapper said rather than penning a hit tune, his focus was more about using music to highlight his wish to inspire young people in cultivating an interest in science. "I have a record coming out but I have a whole bunch of facts and passion projects that bring opportunity to people that are [also] coming out. So if my music brings awareness to those things, that's amazing," said will.i.am. "I'm not doing music to sell records. Even though selling a record is cool, the song being heard is more important. I have some of the most downloaded songs [of all time]. Am I supposed to compete with myself? Because I'm probably going to lose to myself. So I need to start doing things to bring opportunity."
  • Rather than produce a song done via the computer, will.i.am enlisted a 40-piece orchestra and two youth choirs for the track, whilst producer/rapper Lil Jon contributes additional vocals. "I wanted to show human collaboration and have an orchestra there and something that would be timeless, and translated in different cultures, not have like a hip hop beat or a dance beat," he said. "A lot of times ... people in my field aren't supposed to try to execute something classical, or orchestral, so I wanted to break that stigma."
  • Here are a couple of other popular music songs that have been sent into space:
    (1) Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode", which along with works by Mozart, was included on the Voyager space probe as part of a gold-plated audio-visual disc in the event that the spacecraft was ever found by intelligent life-forms from other planetary systems.

    (2) In 2008 Nasa beamed the Beatles' "Across The Universe" directly into space to commemorate both the 40th anniversary of the song and NASA's 50th birthday.

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