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Curiosity rover hijacked by will.i.am to debut science song

Audio pollution of two worlds

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On Tuesday NASA is pimping out its Curiosity rover to silly-named songster will.i.am so that he can use it to premiere his latest song Reach for the Stars.

The song, which NASA says is "a new composition about the singer's passion for science, technology, and space exploration," will be uploaded by the rover and sent back to Earth at 1pm Pacific Time (11pm UT) on Tuesday, hopefully without polluting the Martian atmosphere. The transmission will form part of an education session for kids by NASA about the science behind the Mars mission.

It's not clear if the song is already on Curiosity. Given the rover only has about 2GB of flash memory, will.i.am's song could be an even bigger waste of space than usual, if so. Streaming it would be possible, but what's more likely is that the song will be pinged out to the rover and returned, using the Deep Space Network communications system.

As well as inflicting his music on two worlds, will.i.am will also use the event to announce a new science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics initiative featuring NASA assets such as the Mars Curiosity Rover. The initiative is in conjunction with online teaching group Discovery Education.

Maybe El Reg is being too harsh, and anything to get kids more into science is welcome. Maybe this song will inspire some to get into science; music has certainly done so before, as demonstrated by Mr Tom Lehrer.

will.i.am is just in the vanguard of an increasing number of musicians getting involved in the technology industry, albeit with varying degrees of success. Last year Intel hired him as its director of creative innovation, although there's been little heard from him since at Chipzilla.

The Black Eyed Pea also appeared on CNN as a rather ropey-looking hologram, just still showing more depth and taste than oeuvres like "My Humps" or "Let's Get Retarded".

But he's not alone. Polaroid appointed Lady Gaga as its creative director last year, and the two are producing a line of cameras, printers, and glasses called "Polaroid Grey Label." Gaga has also been pimping Monster Cables at the last few Consumer Electronics shows.

Let's not forget Dr Dre, founder of Beats Electronics and creator of the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphone range and the Beats Audio system used by HP and others. Dre, or Andre Romelle Young as his mother calls him, has made a significant chunk of change from technology, pulling in $309m of investment from HTC last year. ®

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