NASA Blasts 'Across the Universe'

Dennis Faas's picture

Forty years ago the British invaded American pop culture, led by four polished, handsome devils from the least-polished place on earth. Upon arrival in the United States from Liverpool, England, the Beatles' went about changing American music forever.  That impact will be commemorated in the oddest fashion when NASA blasts the lyrics for the band's popular "Across the Universe" as part of the 50th anniversary of its first space mission.

Although neither anniversary is particularly odd, their combination seems an interesting 'mashup'. For a space administration that is as American as Wisconsin cheese and warm apple pie, the use of a distinctly foreign song seems counter to what NASA stood for during the long, tense years of the Cold War.

And yet, the Beatles wouldn't have gotten very far without America. Heck, they certainly wouldn't get this far without NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will be projecting the Beatles song -- which was mostly recorded 40 years ago, February 4 -- in the direction of Polaris, about 431 light years away. (Source:

Although the event is certainly kitschy and a sad attempt by NASA to gather mainstream media attention, this is only the second time they have used 'outgoing mail': sending sound waves into space, rather than monitoring every bit of data coming back, via various crafts. The last broadcast meant to entertain aliens was sent out by Professor Frank Drake of Cornell University, only six years after "Across the Universe" was recorded. (Source:

With that said, groups in the Ukraine and Canada have been trying to get the attention of extraterrestrials in recent years (hopefully with Rush and not Celine Dion).

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