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Mars Rover Belts Out Song From Red Planet in Cosmic First

Entertainer speaks to students as he debuts a new song in honor of Curiosity rover at JPL, Pasadena, CA, August 28, 2012. (Image credit: NASA TV)

The first song ever played from Mars was broadcast today (Aug. 28) from NASA's Curiosity rover on the Red Planet.

The concert represented the world premiere of the appropriately named song "Reach for the Stars," by rapper and songwriter It was beamed via radio signal about 150 million miles (241 million km) back to Earth from Curiosity's landing spot on Mars' Gale Crater at 1 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. EDT).

"The point of the song is to remind people … that anything is possible if you discipline yourself and dedicate yourself and stand for something," the musician said today from Curiosity's mission control center at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

The music arrived there during an educational event held for students from the Los Angeles neighborhood where grew up.

"There's no words to explain how amazing this is," said. "These kids here are from Boyle Heights, the same neighborhood I'm from. We don't have to just end up in the 'hood. But it's a hard thing. The hardest thing is discipline."

Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, listen and clap along to's new song that was beamed from Mars back to Earth, August 28, 2012. (Image credit: NASA TV)

Students and rocket scientists alike bobbed their heads and clapped as the song's strains came back to Earth.

"Why do they say the sky is the limit When I've seen footprints on the moon And I know the sky may be high But baby it ain't really that high And I know that Mars might be far But baby it ain't really that far Let's reach for the stars"

Also onhand at the event was former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin, now the agency's associate administrator for education.

Musician, center, listens to NASA scientist Jim Garvin of the Goddard Space Flight Center talk next to a mock up of the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity as astronaut Leland Melvin looks on at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) a few hours ahead of the planned landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif. (Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

"Never give up," Melvin said. "People told me that I couldn't be an astronaut. Whatever you want to be, whatever you dream, you can do, if you put your mind to it."

The $2.5 billion Curiosity landed on Mars Aug. 5 (PDT) after launching in November of last year. The song was loaded onto the rover before its departure from Earth, and, part of the hip-hop group The Black-Eyed Peas, was at JPL in person to watch Curiosity land.

The car-size rover is embarking on a two-year mission to search for signs that the Red Planet may have ever been habitable to microbial life.

This story was provided by, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Clara Moskowitz
Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written for both and Live Science.