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Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and Bob Marley Music Placed on the Moon by Odysseus Lunar Lander

Outer space is becoming a bit more musical. Launched by SpaceX, the Odysseus Lunar Lander recently made it to the moon's surface on Thursday, February 22. One of the things the spacecraft carried to the moon was a time capsule filled with tunes made by Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, Chuck Berry, and more.

Consisting of a digitized archive of music, photos, artwork, and more, the time capsule supposedly offers a rough overview of the breadth of human culture, from fragments of ancient Sumerian music notation to paintings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh to beats by Timbaland and more.

Housed in a glass, nickel, and NanoFiche structure, the time capsule has been engineered to last for millions of years, if not more. Thematically, the curators focused on works from 1969, in commemoration of the Apollo 11 landing and the Woodstock festival that occurred weeks later.

A total of 222 artists and their works have been featured in the time capsule. They include Marvin Gaye, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone, The Who, and more. There's also photos from Woodstock, and album artwork. One of those album covers is – rather ironically – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

The idea for the time capsule was pitched by Dallas Santana, whose company Space Blue, curated the project. They worked alongside Beverly Hills Productions and Melody Trust, the latter of which owns thousands of masters from classic artists. The time capsule includes never-before-released songs, such as early recordings by Hendrix before the formation of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

“This is music that stands the test of time,” Santana told Billboard.

In Billboard's full report, Santana also mentioned there's a bit of historical irony here: during the 60s, many musicians pressured the U.S. government to stop spending money on lunar landings in favor of solving terrestrial problems. It was part of the reason NASA suspended moon missions in 1972. Now, some of those artists are enshrined on the moon for up to a billion years.

According to Santana, some modern musicians featured in the capsule were “concerned” about Elon Musk’s involvement in the project, resulting in the group opting to curate the archive independently. “When we decided to have conversations about musicians last year, we thought it was not appropriate to bring it to [Musk’s] attention what we were going to do,” Santana said. “Musicians were concerned about that. They said, ‘Does Elon Musk have anything to do with deciding what musicians go up there?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely not, this is a private payload.’”

Santana's capsule is ambitious, but it's not the first time humans have launched music into outer space for future generations – or an intelligent alien life form – to find. In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager spacecraft, which carried a golden record featuring images and sounds of Earth life. Various songs were included on the record. Just like with Odysseus, Chuck Berry is featured on the Voyager Golden Record, too. ("Johnny B. Goode" is floating somewhere in deep space right now.)

After the Odysseus mission, Santana's company is now thinking about where to spread human culture next. They are eying other lunar payloads of a similar nature, and even talking about placing an arts museum on Mars if a Martian landing comes to pass.

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Article Image: Photo of the moon. (mik38 via DepositPhotos.)

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About Kathryn Milewski

  • New Jersey