Brian May is not only the guitarist for Queen, but he also has a PhD in astrophysics. His latest project combines music with the New Horizons’ flyby of Ultima Thule, a 32 km-wide object in an area beyond Pluto called the Kuiper Belt.
At four billion miles–one billion beyond Pluto–Ultima Thule is the furthest object ever explored by humans. Moving at a little more than 16 km per second (58,500 kph), New Horizons got within 2,200 km of this mysterious rock at 12:33 am EST today (January 1.) It’s moving so fast that if it had come any closer, all photos would have been nothing but a blur.
It’ll take a day for any photographs to be reassembled on Earth–the speed of data transmission is like a bad modem from the 80s–but it’ll be worth the wait.
Meanwhile, Brian’s new song was released just as New Horizons made its encounter. He was on hand at Mission Control.
Here’s the song. Read more at Mashable.