The space shuttle Discovery is slated to launch on its final mission this week, and that means voting will soon close on NASA’s Space Rock contest.
—Image courtesy NASA
As we reported back in August, it’s been a tradition since the Apollo program to rouse slumbering astronauts with music selected either by flight controllers or by crew members’ friends and family.
This year, as the shuttle fleet draws closer to retirement, NASA decided to open the floodgates and ask all of Earth to chose the wakeup songs for Discovery’s last ride.
The agency provided a list of Top 40 tunes and has been collecting votes since then on which two should be used during Discovery’s upcoming 11-day mission. Voting closes when the shuttle launches, and the two winning numbers will be announced during the mission.
As of noon-ish on Monday, the Space Rock site has logged 2,455,131 votes, and the top four contenders are:
- “Blue Sky” by Big Head Todd (719,060 votes)
- The Star Trek theme song by Alexander Courage (666,849 votes)
- “Magic Carpet Ride” by Steppenwolf (377,743 votes)
- “Countdown” by Rush (263,265 votes)
The choices fairly scream a voting audience steeped in spacey lore.
In case you didn’t know, “Blue Sky” was commissioned by the crew of Discovery’s STS-114 mission, which was the return to flight in 2005 after the tragic loss of the shuttle Columbia.
The Star Trek theme kinda speaks for itself, but Next Generation fans will recall that “Magic Carpet Ride” was the song [fictional] pilot Zefram Cochrane played when he launched himself on Earth’s first warp-drive flight aboard the Phoenix in First Contact.
“Countdown” was written about the first-ever orbital space shuttle mission, STS-1. The members of Rush watched from a VIP area as the shuttle Columbia launched on that mission April 12, 1981.
With just a few days left until Discovery lifts off, it’s hard to imagine the surge in late voting that would be required to cause any significant changes in the lineup.
But, as they say, it’s not over til it’s over.
It’s also not too late to take part in NASA’s other public offering: Put your Face in Space.
If you’ve got a digital mug handy, you can upload your face to a NASA site, and a printout of that picture will fly aboard one of the final two shuttle missions. For the shy types, you can also skip the picture and send just your name into orbit.
A nifty map of participants shows that 255,869 people around the world have entered either a face or a name—and I really mean *around* the world.
True, the U.S. leads the charge with 109,283 submissions.
But there are also, to name just a few international entries, 25 from Uganda, 751 from Indonesia, 1,641 from Romania, and 975 from Peru.
Admittedly that’s just a drop in the bucket, considering the current world population of more than 6.8 billion. But hey, it’s a start.
The Face in Space page will be open to entries until the last scheduled shuttle launch, which—for now—is the planned flight of Endeavour next February.