Brand & Martinez for September 10, 2012

Music for Mars: JPL's Curiosity rover playlist

Curiosity self portrait

NASA / JPL

NASA's Curiosity took a picture of itself on Mars.

At the start of the workday, when scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory fire up the Mars Curiosity rover, they play a song over the loudspeaker. It's a way to boost team morale, especially since living on Mars time can mean going to work in the middle of the night.

The tradition of playing music at NASA goes back to the 1960s. Mission control played songs for astronauts to help boost their spirits. But the rover has neither spirits to boost nor ears to hear with. Why keep playing the songs?

David Oh is the Curiosity flight director. He says, "while it's not alive like an astronaut. We think of it like a living robot out there on Mars."

"It's our way of participating in the exploration of Mars, which is really exciting," Oh remarked. "And it has many of the attributes of a person. It goes to sleep at night and it wakes up in the morning. It goes and does its thing. And every morning it looks back to earth for news, for what to do."

Some of the songs played so far:

House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

Good Morning Good Morning by The Beatles

Stronger by Kanye West

And on the first day of operation on the Red Planet the team at JPL played Lovin Every Minute of It by Loverboy.

See the full list of songs here. Scroll down and look for the side bar on the left labeled "playlist."

If you'd like to suggest a song for the rover to wake up to, JPL says that they're all ears. Just tweet your wake up song to David Oh. His Twitter handle is @MarsTimrDad.


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