Written as a theme for NASA’s ‘New Horizons’ spacecraft, the track will launch on New Year’s Day at the US space agency’s mission control centre in Greenbelt, Maryland. The song is May’s first entirely new solo work in more than two decades, with his last official single being ‘Why Don’t We Try Again’ from 1998 album Another World.
The New Horizons mission is jetting off to achieve the most distant spacecraft flyby in history, encountering a remote Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) named Ultima Thule that sits beyond Pluto on the edge of the solar system.
May, who has a doctorate in astrophysics, will be in attendance at his single launch and had nothing but praise for the NASA project.
“This project has energised me in a new way,” said May. “For me it’s been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together – astronomy and music… I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand of Man has ever reached – it will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the space craft will beam back to Earth. To me it epitomises the human spirit’s unceasing desire to understand the Universe we inhabit.
May continued on to note the importance of the event, explaining that “through the vehicle’s ‘eyes’ we will begin to learn, for the very first time, what a Kuiper Belt Object is made of, and pick up precious clues about how our solar system was born.”
‘New Horizons’ will be launched into the atmosphere on Tuesday January 1.