Just yesterday, NASA announced that the Hubble Space Telescope may have detected evidences of a salt water ocean underneath the surface of Jupiter's largest satellite, Ganymede. The discovery prompted me to listen to Gustav Holst's "Jupiter" from his The Planets suite. The Planets wasn't actually inspired by astronomy, but astrology instead. It hasn't stopped The Planets suite from being heard all around the world as a form of celebrating astronomy. "Jupiter" is arguably the most well-known piece from the suite. It has been adapted as Christian hymns as well as sport anthems such as "World in Union", an example of which was sung by the inimitable Dame Shirley Bassey below.
Of course, space-themed music isn't just limited to classical music. "Mothership Connection" by the funk band Parliament is another example of a space-themed music album. To NPR, Kevin Strait of the Smithsonian Institute explains the Parliament frontman George Clinton's decision to use space as the theme for one of his band's albums:
(Clinton) really developed this grand idea of envisioning African-Americans in space as a way to liberate one's mind from the shackles of racism and poverty or any other societal constraints. The Mothership was this symbolic mode of transporting the conscious self into this ethereal place, which was pretty funky and pretty far out, but represents the grander scope of his thinking.
Music and space alike have inspired countless people from art to science. As humans expand their reach into space, humanity will continue to write songs about space: about stellar bodies themeselves, about the creation myths from eons ago, or using space as a metaphor in a social commentary. Space inspires us all.
What is your favorite space-themed music?