This Week in Space

May 3rd 2024

This Week in Space 109

Music of the Spheres

Hosted by Rod Pyle, Tariq Malik

Space Music with Chris Carberry

New episodes posted every Friday.
Guests: Chris Carberry
Category: News

While we may not think of it very often, music has a long history of influencing how we think about spaceflight. From the scores of early silent films to the modern classics we all know, like 2001: A Space Odyssey and the never-ending franchises of Star Trek and Star Wars, we often have a riff going through our minds when we see a space image—few can hear Strauss' Blue Danube without thinking of the space station in 2001, or see a tilted yellow title scroll without hearing that first orchestral crash of John Williams' immortal Star Wars score. And, in real life, we had the talented astronaut Chris Hadfield performing David Bowie's classic hit Major Tom, augmented by upbeat lyrics. Space music is big, and Chris Carberry, CEO of Explore Mars and author of the recently released book The Music of Space, is here to tell us why!


  • China launches Chang’e-6 mission to the far side of the moon, aiming to collect and return the first-ever samples from this region
  • Boeing completes final flight readiness review for the CFT crew flight test mission, set to launch on May 6th with a 95% chance of good weather
  • James Webb Space Telescope successfully maps weather on exoplanet WASP-43 b, located 280 light years away, showcasing the telescope's potential for studying distant worlds

Main Topic: The Music of Space

  • Chris Carberry discusses his new book "The Music of Space: Scoring the Cosmos in Film and Television" and his motivation for exploring the connection between space and music
  • Early examples of space-related music in film include the scores for “Metropolis” (1927) and the space documentary "Our Heavenly Bodies" (1920)
  • The pivotal role of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" in using classical music to depict space, and how it influenced future filmmakers
  • John Williams' iconic score for "Star Wars" (1977) marked a turning point in film scoring and revitalized orchestral music in cinema
  • The concept of music as a universal language and its potential for communicating with alien civilizations
  • Chris Hadfield's rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on the International Space Station and the challenges of playing music in microgravity
  • The role of music in future space settlements, its impact on mental health, and how it may evolve in different environments like Mars
  • Chris Carberry's previous book "Alcohol in Space" and the history of alcohol consumption in space missions
  • The need for studying the effects of alcohol on human physiology in space as commercial spaceflight advances

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