25 July 2002
News - Tourism (Good)
Lance Bass Set to Become First Musician in Space
Project to be formally announced soon
by Patrick Collins
Both Aviation Week magazine (July 22, p 53) and Space News (July 22, p4) report that the Russian Aviation and Space Agency has announced its intention to fly Lance Bass on board the late October "Taxi flight" to the space station. The July 12 announcement leaves less than six months until his flight, which does not keep the letter of the Russians’ agreement with their international partners in the space station project. However, the other countries are said to be okay with this, since they recognise the financial benefit that the Russian space agency gets from its paying customers.

Space Future has long taken an interest in pop music and space, having published a research paper on the subject back in 1989. Among other things, that paper contains a long list of pop songs relating to space (as of the late 1980s). It would be neat to bring the list up to date – although there are so many such songs that a comprehensive list is probably impossible. But we can try: readers are urged to contact us to let us know of other space-related songs produced either before or since that should be included in the list.

Older readers reading some of the earlier songs listed in the paper will be forcibly reminded how optimistic the public were about humans’ space future back in the 1960s. And they will be struck again how most of that “vision” has been destroyed by decades of government monopoly space agencies repeating the same space activities with little economic value, while doing what they can to delay space travel by the general public.

Of course the dream of a musician flying to space is that they will come up with something really new. This happens periodically: rag-time, rock-and-roll, and reggae are just three types of music which were invented at a particular time and place during the 20th century and became enormously popular, so that today they are instantly recognisable worldwide.

The utter novelty of living in zero-G surely offers a good chance that, at some time, someone will come up with some strikingly new and memorable style of music out there. What’s it going to be like to dance in zero-G, anyway?

We very much look forward to Lance Bass’s trip being a great media success – and we hope it will become the source of some great music, too.
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Patrick Collins 25 July 2002
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