On This Day: NASA Announces The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’ to Become First Song Beamed into Space

by Josh Lanier

Beatlemania has reached deep space. It was 13 years ago today that NASA said it would beam The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” at Polaris, the north star.

It was the first time NASA beamed a radio song into deep space. Though the reason was mostly nostalgic, as it celebrated the 40th anniversary of the song, the 45th anniversary of the Deep Space Network, and NASA’s 50th anniversary, NBC News reported.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote the classic tune, and both McCartney and Lenon’s widow have given their blessing to the mission.

“Amazing! Well done, NASA!” McCartney said in a message to the space agency. “Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul.”

Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, said this signaled a new era.

“I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe,” she said.

NASA pointed its powerful antenna toward the North Star some 431 light years — 2.5 quadrillion miles — away. That’s where they’re sending the song.

The idea apparently came from Beatles historian Martin Lewis, who pitched the idea because he hoped the song and event could unite people.

“I think it’s going to turn into quite a fun event,” he said, via NBC News. “Something positive in our sometimes-depressing world.”

NASA Has Sent Music Into Space Before

This wasn’t the first time NASA has used a Beatles song. McCartney played “Good Day Sunshine” for a virtual concert on the International Space Station in 2005. The band’s music also makes a good alarm clock. NASA has used “Here Comes the Sun,” Ticket to Rode,” a “Hard Day’s Night,” among others, to wake up crews, NASA said.

It’s not even the first time the agency has sent music into deep space.

In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 space probe. Inside was a gold record that featured several images and diagrams from around the globe, mathematical equations and laws of our Earth, and yes, music. Though, the music was eclectic, featuring classical songs and sounds from many different cultures. You can see all the songs on the golden disc here.

The probe is more than 12 billion miles away from Earth at the moment. Let’s hope the aliens have a record player.