Space flutes salute Yuri Gagarin

Jethro Tull meets the ISS


NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and Jethro Tull founder Ian Anderson hooked up late last week to pay homage to Yuri Gagarin when they whipped out their flutes for "the first space-Earth duet".

Coleman is currently aboard the ISS as part of the Expedition 27 crew. Anderson was on tour in Perm, Russia, and took a moment to join the musical salute to "rocket heroes":

The tune is an extract from Bourree, which Jethro Tull played while on a US tour during 1969, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon.

Anderson fan Coleman has one of her idol's flutes with her aboard the ISS, as well as her own instrument. She's also got a penny whistle and flute belonging to Irish group the Chieftains.

She said of space flautism: "It is really different to play up here. I’ve been having the nicest time up in our Cupola. I float around in there. A lot of the times I play with my eyes closed."

Ellen Ochoa plays the flute in space shuttle Discovery's aft flight deck in April 1993. Pic: NASA

Coleman isn't the first astronaut to play a flute in orbit. Ellen Ochoa (see pic, above) tickled the keys back in 1993, when she was aboard Discovery on its STS-56 mission.

Unless there's something they're not telling us, Yuri Gagarin didn't have a flute to hand on 12 April 1961 when he became the first man in space as his Vostok 1 spacecraft took him on a 108-minute orbit.

Yuri Gagarin in his spacesuit. Pic: NASA

Time magazine declared: "Triumphant music blared across the land. Russia’s radios saluted the morning with the slow, stirring beat of the patriotic song, How Spacious Is My Country. Then came the simple announcement that shattered forever man’s ancient isolation on earth." ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • North Korea pulled in $400m in cryptocurrency heists last year – report

    Plus: FIFA 22 players lose their identity and Texas gets phony QR codes

    In brief Thieves operating for the North Korean government made off with almost $400m in digicash last year in a concerted attack to steal and launder as much currency as they could.

    A report from blockchain biz Chainalysis found that attackers were going after investment houses and currency exchanges in a bid to purloin funds and send them back to the Glorious Leader's coffers. They then use mixing software to make masses of micropayments to new wallets, before consolidating them all again into a new account and moving the funds.

    Bitcoin used to be a top target but Ether is now the most stolen currency, say the researchers, accounting for 58 per cent of the funds filched. Bitcoin accounted for just 20 per cent, a fall of more than 50 per cent since 2019 - although part of the reason might be that they are now so valuable people are taking more care with them.

    Continue reading
  • Tesla Full Self-Driving videos prompt California's DMV to rethink policy on accidents

    Plus: AI systems can identify different chess players by their moves and more

    In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

    “Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

    Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

    Continue reading
  • Alien life on Super-Earth can survive longer than us due to long-lasting protection from cosmic rays

    Laser experiments show their magnetic fields shielding their surfaces from radiation last longer

    Life on Super-Earths may have more time to develop and evolve, thanks to their long-lasting magnetic fields protecting them against harmful cosmic rays, according to new research published in Science.

    Space is a hazardous environment. Streams of charged particles traveling at very close to the speed of light, ejected from stars and distant galaxies, bombard planets. The intense radiation can strip atmospheres and cause oceans on planetary surfaces to dry up over time, leaving them arid and incapable of supporting habitable life. Cosmic rays, however, are deflected away from Earth, however, since it’s shielded by its magnetic field.

    Now, a team of researchers led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) believe that Super-Earths - planets that are more massive than Earth but less than Neptune - may have magnetic fields too. Their defensive bubbles, in fact, are estimated to stay intact for longer than the one around Earth, meaning life on their surfaces will have more time to develop and survive.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022