The Way This Timbaland Song (Is) Lunar

The first private space craft to land on the moon brought digitized recordings of 25,000 songs by 222 music icons

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Feb 26, 2024

Last Tuesday (February 22), the Odysseus became the first private-lander spacecraft in history to make a lunar touchdown — and it brought some music history with it in the form of digitized recordings of 25,000 songs by some of the world's most iconic musicians.

This arts-centric time capsule, a lunar arts museum of sorts, spans millennia, according to Billboard, "reaching all the way back to Sumerian cuneiform fragment of musical notation up to modern-day beats by Timbaland." He ain't got no visa, but the American record producer and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee-to-be has got beats on the moon. 

Material from 20th century legends Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Sly & the Family Stone, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, the Who, Pink Floyd (of course) and many more is also included in the glass, nickel and NanoFiche structure, which has been built to last millions, if not billions, of years.

“This is music that stands the test of time,” Dallas Santana, who came up with the idea of sending 222 artists to the moon, told the publication. Some unreleased Hendrix recordings that have never seen the light of day on Earth were apparently included.

The first American-built spacecraft to touch down on the moon since 1972, the Odysseus got a ride to the moon via a SpaceX rocket — but Santana was adamant that Elon Musk had no say in which musicians' recordings were sent up with it. "We thought it was not appropriate to bring to it to his attention what we were going to do,” Santana explained. “And musicians were concerned about that. They said, ‘Does Elon Musk have anything to do with deciding what musicians go up there?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely not, this is a private payload.'"

In sum, it's unlikely that Grimes's "Oblivion" is collecting moon dust. (Yet.)

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