The Ultimate Musical Space Shuttle Crew
The first man to ever leave the Earth and venture into space was a Russian cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin, who, if he hadn't died at the young age of 34 in a plane crash he would be 77 years old today. Garagrin was launched into space on April 12, 1961, and orbited once around the planet in 108 minutes before re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and landing safely.
Since then, man has made great strides in space exploration, visiting the moon, building the International Space Station, establishing a satellite network, and sending unmanned probes to the furthest reaches of the solar system. However, the last planned shuttle launch for the foreseeable future took place in February, returning to Earth this week and leaving the question of when we'll next see Americans launched into space in limbo.
Musical history is full of spacemen. Some serve as an analogy to loneliness and isolation, some as metaphors for the working man of the future, and some just because space kicks ass. In hopes of inspiring the people who hold the purse strings to consider shooting some more people at the moon and points beyond, we'd like to throw some of the finest space names from popular songs into the helmet.
Appears In: "Space Oddity," David Bowie
Any discussion of musical spacemen must begin with David Bowie's legendary lost hero Major Tom from the song "Space Oddity." First debuting on the album of the same name in 1969, the character is lost at space after a malfunction disables his spacecraft, but sends a final message of love to his wife left back on Earth before all contact is lost.
The character has gone on to appear several more times in Bowie's work as well as being mentioned in songs by other artists. Though Bowie has made mention of the character being an autobiographical reference to drug use, most notably in his 1980 song "Ashes to Ashes," Major Tom is considered a literal astronaut by the rest of pop culture.
Peter Schilling cemented the image in 1983 with his unofficial remake of "Space Oddity" "Major Tom (Coming Home)." As the rock's senior astronaut, we recommend Major Tom for team commander of the mission.
Appears In: Christmas on Mars, The Flaming Lips
When The Flaming Lips released their movie Christmas on Mars in 2005, it was heralded by most critics as an original and masterful film utilizing all the musical and performance leitmotifs that made the Lips one of the most influential indie bands ever.
Personally, Rocks Off heralded it as a ripoff of another entry on this list, but we are still happy to admit that the Christmas on Mars is a great flick. The hero of the epic is Major Syrtis, who is desperately trying to put on a Christmas pageant on a recently colonized Mars while a lone woman prepares to give birth to a baby.
Amidst all the vagina imagery and bleak depression is a man's quest to try and give the perfect setting to the beginning of a new age symbolized by extremely disturbing looking pre-natal technology.
Loyal and idealistic, Major Syrtis is the perfect second in command for the mission.