Posts tagged with "The Beatles"

NASA’S Lucy spacecraft will carry a time capsule intended to be found by future astro-archaeologists

July 15, 2021

NASA engineers installed a time capsule on the Lucy spacecraft late last week— intended for future astro-archeologists to retrieve and interpret. The time capsule is a plaque that includes messages from Nobel Laureates and musicians, among others, as well as a depiction of the solar system’s configuration on October 16, 2021—the date on which the spacecraft is expected to launch, Gizmodo reports.

Like the Pioneer and Voyager probes, Lucy will carry a message to whomever eventually might intercept the craft. But while the previous probes have messages meant for aliens, as they were shot toward interstellar space, Lucy will stay within the solar system. Its time capsule will presumably be for future humans to retrieve, hence the inclusion of words from Nobel Laureates, Poet Laureates, and musiciansaccording to a NASA release detailing the plaque’s inclusion.

The plaque was installed on Lucy on July 9 in Colorado, where the craft is undergoing final preparations before its slated autumn launch.

The plaque includes quotes from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., authors and poets including Orhan Pamuk, Louise Glück, Amanda Gorman, Joy Harjo, and Rita Dove, scientists Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan, and musicians—including all four Beatles and Queen guitarist and astronomer Brian May. The messages discuss hope, love, the heavens, cultural memory, and eternity. A complete list can be found on Lucy’s website.

Lucy’s mission focuses on the Trojan asteroids, a group of space rocks that orbits the Sun beyond the ring of the asteroid belt—taking turns leading Jupiter or chasing the gas giant in its own solar orbit. (Trojan asteroids are those that share an orbit with a planet and often are byproducts of that planet’s formation, but the term most commonly applies to those involved with Jupiter.) Jupiter has a phalanx of Trojans, but Lucy (named for the fossil hominin, itself named for the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”) is targeting just seven of them for flybys over the course of 12 years.

According to Gizmodo, the asteroids are intriguing because they are thought to have formed in the early solar system; just as the Lucy fossil helped paleoanthropologists understand human evolution, the hope is that the Lucy spacecraft will inform NASA about solar system evolution. And since Lucy’s in the sky—beyond it, if we’re being extremely literal—you can imagine the “diamonds” here are the asteroids, a veritable wealth of information.

Lucy is a product of the Discovery Program, the NASA initiative that is producing the DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions to Venus. The Lucy mission will conclude in 2033, just around the same time when those spacecraft will be arriving at Venus, but Lucy will bounce between the Trojans and Earth for at least hundreds of thousands of years. (NASA has no plans to snatch the craft back out from space.)

Perhaps the most apt passage on the plaque, then, is a quote from science journalist Dava Sobel: “We, the inquisitive people of Earth, sent this robot spacecraft to explore the pristine small bodies orbiting near the largest planet in our solar system. We sought to trace our own origins as far back as evidence allowed. Even as we looked to the ancient past, we thought ahead to the day you might recover this relic of our science.”

To the future humans who may nab Lucy: Enjoy your plaque. You probably won’t be using any language currently spoken on Earth, but hopefully you can grok our intent.

Research contact: @Gizmodo

Britain’s Royal Mail to release stamps that celebrate the music of Paul McCartney

May 7, 2021

Britain’s Royal Mail has revealed the designs of 12 postage stamps honoring Sir Paul McCartney as a music icon a little more than three weeks ahead of the scheduled May 28 issue date, Linn’s Stamp News reports..

Royal Mail also reported that it collaborated with McCartney and his team at MPL Communications in London for this stamp issue—adding that McCartney was personally involved “in the images used and the wider product range created for the issue.”

McCartney was previously commemorated on a set of British stamps as a member of The Beatles (Scott 2420-2426), Linn’s Stamp News notes. That set, issued on January 9, 2007, included six stamps showing iconic Beatles’ album covers and a souvenir sheet of four se-tenant (side-by-side) stamps depicting Beatles’ memorabilia.

The new Paul McCartney set includes eight stamps featuring covers of his albums as a solo artist and with his band Wings, and a souvenir sheet of four stamps showing black-and-white photographs of McCartney in the recording studio.

The stamps mark the 50th anniversary of the release of one of these albums, Ram, as well as the 50th anniversary of the formation of Wings in 1971.

The cover of Ram—the only album credited to both McCartney and his first wife, Linda (1941-98)—is shown on a nondenominated first-class stamp.

Another first-class stamp depicts the cover of Venus and Mars, Wing’s fourth studio album. Released in 1975, the album reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Two other first-class stamps show the covers of two self-titled albums: McCartney released in 1970; and McCartney II, released 10 years later in 1980.

The cover of McCartney III, released in December 2020, is featured on one of the four £1.70 stamps.

Pictured on the other three £1.70 stamps are the covers of his solo albums Tug of War (1982), Flaming Pie (1997) and Egypt Station (2018),

The souvenir sheet, which is titled “McCartney in the Studio,” includes two first-class stamps and two £1.70 stamps.

In announcing the Paul McCartney set of 12 stamps, David Gold, director of External Affairs and Policy at Royal Mail, said: “Paul McCartney remains a vital figure at the centre of rock and pop — an artist whose legacy is immense, but whose work continues to generate popular attention and critical acclaim. This dedicated stamp issue is a fitting tribute to one of the UK’s much loved and revered musical icons.”

The stamps and a range of collectible products are available for pre-order beginning May 6 from

Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland—or from Royal Mail’s agency in the United States is Interpost, Box 400, Hewlett, NY 11557.

Research contact: @LinnsStampNews