As announced, Queen guitarist Brian May has globally premiered his first new song in over 20 years today (January 1) from the NASA control headquarters in Maryland, USA.
The track is titled “New Horizons” and marks the follow-up to 1998’s “Another World” album.
The song celebrates the 12-year journey of the New Horizons probe and comes as “Brian’s personal tribute to the ongoing NASA New Horizons mission, which on New Year’s Day 2019 will achieve the most distant spacecraft flyby in history.”
The press release reads:
“Occurring some 6.5 billion km (4 billion miles) from Earth, the flyby will set a new record for the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object by a spacecraft.
“New Horizons will gather a swathe of images and other data over the course of just a few hours leading up to and beyond the closest approach.”
Brian told Newsweek:
“You know, I don’t know if anyone’s going to like it yet… I have been bouncing it off [New Horizons boss] Alan [Stern] all the way.
“He’s made some comments – some very interesting comments – because of course, he comes from a completely different world from me. And he’s been liking it, which is great.”
The guitarist noted about adding Stephen Hawking’s 2015 words to the New Horizons team to the track:
“He said exactly what was in my mind. In another part of his message – which actually nobody has heard yet – he said, ‘We do this because we are human and because we need to know.'”
The musician previously stated:
“This project has energized me in a new way. For me, it’s been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together – astronomy and music. It was Alan Stern, the project instigator of this amazing NASA mission, who threw down the glove last May.
“He asked if I could come up with a theme for Ultima Thule which could be played as the NH probe reached this new destination. I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the hand of man has ever reached.
“It will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the spacecraft will beam back to earth. To me, it epitomizes the human spirit’s unceasing desire to understand the universe we inhabit.
“Everyone who has devoted so much energy to this mission since its launch in January 2006 will be feeling they are actually inside that small but intrepid vehicle – only about the size of a grand piano – as it pulls off another spectacular close encounter.
“And through the vehicle’s ‘eyes,’ we will begin to learn, for the very first time, what a Kuiper Belt Object is made of. And pick up precious clues about how our solar system was born.”