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Mars rover Curiosity beams will.i.am song from Red Planet surface

August 29, 2012 |  7:02 am

The mission of Mars Rover Curiosity took a musical turn Tuesday.

The rover transmitted a song by musician will.i.am  from the surface of Mars.

“There’s no words to explain how amazing this is,” the singer, of Black Eyed Peas fame, said to the gathered audience, standing on stage with NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, the agency’s associate administrator for education.

PANORAMA: Tire tracks on Mars | PHOTOS: Color images from Mars

As The Times Amina Khan reported:

The song, called “Reach for the Stars,” was beamed back to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, where will.i.am took the stage to answer questions from students from Boyle Heights, where he grew up.

The number features a 40-piece orchestra and isn’t your standard urban hip-hop anthem, the singer pointed out, because it’s meant to weather the test of time and be easily translated across cultures. 

“I know that Mars might be far, but baby it ain’t really that far / Let’s reach for the stars (reach for the stars),” will.i.am sings on the track, in ephemeral autotune.

On Monday, officials displayed photos from Mars rover Curiosity showing a Grand Canyon-like terrain on the Red Planet.

NASA unveiled the images Monday as Curiosity prepared to take its first road trip.

The scientists displayed new images of the rover’s ultimate target: the base of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mound in the middle of Gale Crater that scientists believe holds a record of the planet’s history, and potentially even some of the ingredients for life.

Mount Sharp’s base features well-defined layers in patterns reminiscent of the Grand Canyon, project scientist John Grotzinger said Monday at a news conference.

“That’s what I’m talking about,” Grotzinger said, indicating the watercolor layers.

The team also tested part of the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, which can digest and analyze rock, and found it was in good working order.

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