Along with dishing out of this world riffs, Queen guitarist Brian May has always had his head stuck in the clouds… literally. His comprehensive studies in space and its celestial bodies eventually earned him a PhD in Astrophysics in 2007. Now, May has combined both of his loves on “New Horizons”, his first solo song in more than two decades.
Commissioned by NASA, the anthemic offering celebrates the latest mission by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which just set the record for the most distant spacecraft flyby ever. Specifically, New Horizons visited 2014 MU69, aka Ultima Thule, a “trans-Neptunian object located in the Kuiper Belt” about 6.5 million km from Earth. It’s also the first Kuiper Belt object of its kind to ever be encountered by a spacecraft.
“This mission is about human curiosity,” May told reporters during a speaking engagement prior to the landmark space event (via Space.com). “It’s about the need of humankind to go out and explore.”
May went on to explain how the New Horizons mission directly inspired his new solo track. “This project made music in my head, and that’s what you’re hearing,” he said, adding, “This became a song which is an anthem to human endeavor.”
Keeping with the spirit of space exploration, the “New Horizons” song weaves in a few quotes by the late Stephen Hawking. It also comes with a visual that tells the story of the Ultima Thule project.
Check it out below, followed by a photo of the Queen guitarist with Alan Stern, the principal New Horizons mission investigator who personally requested May’s musical talents.
May and the rest of Queen, including singer Adam Lambert, will embark on a massive North American tour this summer. The legendary group’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody” recently was named “the most-streamed song from the 20th century”, and their biopic of the same name is setting all kinds of records.