back to article NASA to beam Beatles song into deep space

NASA will on 4 February beam Beatles' ditty Across the Universe into deep space to mark the 40th anniversary of the day the Fab Four recorded the song, as well as the launch 50 years ago this week of Explorer 1 and the 45th birthday of its Deep Space Network (DSN). According to the press release, the transmission is being …


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  1. Karl Lattimer

    bit overly optimistic

    Yoko Ono, chipped in with: "I see that this is the beginning of the new age in which we will communicate with billions of planets across the universe."

    did anyone tell her that this isn't the first radio wave to be beamed out to space, and that after a long time of radio waves beaming out of earth we've only picked up one or two interesting signals back...

    I'm not saying there aren't any aliens out there, just they probably don't use radio communication and have long since stopped using the most basic of electronic radio detection kit. We are after all a rather young planet comparatively speaking.

    New age? f**king hippies.

  2. Not That Andrew

    There goes NASA's budget for the next 10 years

    The preformance change on ths will be astronomical.

  3. Edwin


    I hope NASA has paid royalties for this broadcast...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be better all round if...

    they just stuck Sir Paul in a rocket and blasted him towards polaris?

  5. Barry Carr


    I hate the sodding Beatles, bland shite, IMHO. And in my view, we shouldn't annoy our new alien overlords by playing this bilge at them, it will end in tears, mark my words.

  6. Robert Grant Silver badge
    IT Angle

    FOSS angle

    I hope this is being transmitted using a lossless, patent-unencumbered codec! Just to bring this worthwhile, cost-effective venture down to earth.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standards please

    > at 7pm EST next Monday

    And what's this in times that the average Brit would understand?

  8. TeeCee Gold badge

    It'll all end in tears.

    I have no idea what the Interstellar equivalent of banging on the wall and shouting "TURN THAT BLOODY RACKET DOWN!" is, but I'll bet it's not going to be pleasant....

  9. Adrian Jones

    Billions of planets?

    What are NASA paying in royalties?

    Are the MPAA building a spaceship?

  10. Ryan Bass


    For years I thought the line in that song that goes "chai guru deva, om" (or something) was "kangaroo dave, ooooh"

  11. Anonymous Coward

    So that's ...

    431 years and 1 day before the RIAA lawsuits hit the Polaris Supreme Courts then? Since, of course, Sir P's copyright will have been extended to infinity (and beyond) by then.

  12. eddiewrenn

    hahaha @ all posters

    God I love The Reg!

  13. Mark Ireland-Spicer

    @Karl Lattimer

    Agree with your comment re: Yoko Ono. What makes it worse is her total lack of understanding re basic physics. eg/ takes a VEEEERRRRRY long time to have a conversation with some one 431 light years away!!!!

  14. John Macintyre

    RIAA poised to sue every alien

    for not paying royalties for hearing it. With the SCUM-IAA around aliens won't bother responding, they'll stick two fingers up, shove the track on their ipods and carry on their daily bus royalty free...

  15. Anonymous John

    We all live in a yellow space shutt-el

    yellow space shutt-el, yellow space shutt-el,

    We all live in a yellow space shutt-el

    yellow space shutt-el, yellow space shutt-el.

    I'll get my spacesuit.

  16. BoldMan

    You bloody philestines!

    Bugger off to all the Beatles haters in this comments section...

    Feb 4 is also my birthday! Yipeee!

  17. PeteGraham


    All well and good but in this crappy world of DRM encoded music and payperdownload files, how are these "aliens" supposed to play it back? I can see it now, freakish alien sitting in front of it's crApple MAC with it's iFarce and a glaring error message telling it the file wasn't downloaded on that machine so there's no way on this planet it'll play.

  18. Philip the Duck

    Re: Standards Please

    For all those unfamiliar with US time notation, "EST" means Eastern Standard Time, and it's GMT-5, so that'll be 14:00 for us then.

  19. Keith T
    Paris Hilton

    Interplanetary Psychological Warfare

    Oh FFS!

    I thought we were supposed to get on with our neighbours, not subject them to vastly over-rated shite.

    What's next? the Carpenters and their Interplanetary Wotsit bollocks?

    Yoko Ono is just after more bloody royalties, can't we just send her out as an emissary - just use one of the older shuttles, it won't get far.

    If there are other beings out there about to complain - it's not most of us --only a tiresome few.

    Paris as it's another annoying thing that could be sent out to space

  20. Bryan


    Surely this has got to be the ultimate in illegal file sharing??

  21. Tawakalna
    Paris Hilton

    what a load of...

    ..utter b*ll*cks. Why are you wasting our time with this non-Paris Hilton rubbish?

  22. Bad Beaver

    I want to know

    I want to know what Yoko is on and where she gets it.

    Also think some Jefferson Starship would have been much nicer. Maybe Blows Against The Empire.

  23. bill

    Aliens-- Watch your backs!!

    Hey there! My little green friends. Now you've gotten the Beatles stand back for a delivery of something called Big Macs and Coke! These will be followed very shortly by something called Americans! Beware! Your very existence is in danger. Americans moslty believe in creationism and so your very existence will give them good reason to nuke you! Americans are usually oversized, and wear sunglasses. They shout a lot, as most are plainly deaf, and they bomb and kill when in other folks territory, and then have men in suits to lie about things!

    Get shot of the Big Macs and Cokes now before they take root...You have been warned!

  24. Sam


    It's not DRM'd is it?

    That would REALLY piss them off...

  25. John Ferris

    MPAA / RIAA to Sue Universe

    I see it all now. We beam copyrighted music into the universe, then when our alien visitors arrive with it stored on alien aPod things, and tell us that there are millions of copies in alien schools and libraies and universities, the RIAA slap a wodging great lawsuit on them.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Shortly thereafter, the first signals from an alien culture are detected...

    ..."Wee ... liiike.... the stoooones.... bettttter..."

  27. Damian Gabriel Moran

    "Send more Chuck Berry!"

  28. Anonymous Coward

    @Aliens-- Watch your backs!!

    "Now you've gotten the Beatles stand back for a delivery of something called Big Macs and Coke"

    You know, I hate to have to spell out the very very very obvious to you, but you seem to need it, so: THE BEATLES WERE NOT AN AMERICAN BAND! Dur!

    Perhaps your joke could have been funny if you'd warned about an invasion of curly-haired scousers and told them to watch out for their hubcaps, but you really blew it big time.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't know what a "philestine" is, but not liking the Beatles does not make one a Philistine either.

    It simply means that yours are not the only valid musical tastes.

    Don't be such a cultural snob.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    Well, just hope the aliens who get the signal have indeed mastered the technology of universal real-time language translation when they receive the transmission. God knows what the song might sound to mean in their native language. The great Douglas Adams even has an example of that happening in one of his later works.

    Such funny already happen among speakers of Earth's many language. i.e. The infamous "Give me my sweater back or I'll play guitar" when a particular ending theme song of a particular anime featuring a particular annoying electric mouse is heard in English, and the infamous "French Erotic Film" song when heard by English speakers who're not aware of the song's Dutch origins.

    If the song coincidently ends up sounding like "your mom" insults to them, then I for one will be ready to welcome our pint-sized warmongering overlords, assuming a dog didn't eat them as soon as and when they arrive.

  31. Anthony

    Alien RIAA

    Of course in an infinite universe, chances are there is another planet out there who also spawned the Beatles. When they hear us apparently bit torrenting their music (on a galaxy wide basis none the less!) they're going to come after us and come after us hard.

    If they're anything like the version we have, all our computers will belong.. and shall be seized forthwith. Expect them to insist other planets have to install filters so that ours doesn't show up on the wider web.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @Standards....(aka Anonymous Blabbermouth)

    I don't have any problems understanding "British Summer Time" or with easily switching between 12/214-hour clock for that matter.

    What's your problem? (Other than seemingly having to opine on each and every El Reg article)?

  33. Anonymous Coward


    Is that star really the nearest one?

    If you send the song via a laser beam then it will take over 400 years to get there.

    Even then it might be a bit distorted by the time it gets there.

  34. Michael Law


    I wonder if NASA can pay for the file share for an infinate number of planets with aliens on them. This makes pirate bay look like small time market stall holders :)

  35. Solomon Grundy
    Thumb Up

    @Aliens-- Watch your backs!!

    While the Beatles weren't from the States, your comment was hilarious.

    "Americans are usually oversized, and wear sunglasses. They shout a lot, as most are plainly deaf, and they bomb and kill when in other folks territory, and then have men in suits to lie about things!


  36. Geoff Johnson

    RE: Distance.

    We don't know the closest star with INTELLIGENT life in it's planetary system, but it sure isn't Sol.

    Seriously though, I notice any time they send out one of these deliberate signals, they send it towards a target so far away that the people who sent it won't be around when any possible reply comes. Unless they think they can live for 800 (400 if the aliens have some kind of instant interstellar transport) years.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Re Distance


    What they're gonna need to do is punch a hole in the fabric of space time and send their 'beam', which I gather is not light but radio waves - through that.

    Trouble is, the only thing heavy and dense enough to do that happens to spin at high velocity and crush everything into virtual non-existence for nigh on eternity (a black hole folks).

    So the radio signals sent through such a mechanism (even if it didn't spin) would almost certainly not come out the other side as an intact song.

    Hang on, what about some form of transmission based on quantum physics?

    If physics says nothing can go faster than the speed of light, but quantum physics says "distance? What distance? It's right over there, and there, and there and..."

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Which Version?

    I hope it's not Phil Spector's mix we're beaming out there. If so, expect intergalactic battle cruisers emerging from hyperspace any day now.

  39. mark11727


    The two opposing leaders, resplendent in their black jewelled battle shorts, were meeting for the last time, when, a dreadful silence fell, and, at that very moment, the words, "chai guru deva, omm" drifted across the conference table. Unfortunately, in their native tongue, this was the most appalling insult imaginable, so the two opposing battle fleets decided to settle their few remaining differences in order to launch a joint attack on our galaxy, now positively identified as the source of the offending remark. For thousands of years the mighty starships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the planet Earth - where, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale, the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.

  40. Anonymous Coward


    "Or are you XXXXPecting IntelAIgent Messengers to Waste their Time in the Intellectual Waste Space that is Human Endeavour."

    Erm, no.

    There again, they might be a bit like us, just beaming across a song for a bit of fun.

    So they might do the same by reply. We might even receive it 800 years from now.

    Imagine that.

  41. Anonymous Coward

    It's too late!

    By now the aliens have received our 1970s broadcasts of crappy/weepy classics such as "Feelings", "Shannon", "Disco Duck" and "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and have decided that there is no life on this planet worth contacting.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone ever wonder...

    ...what it must be like to have a voice conversation with amanfromMars? I believe that it is the Reg's solemn duty to provide a recorded interview.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MP3 format

    It'll be sent in mp3 format... a complex digital format of codecs & compression that would be impossible for any alien race to decode, without full knowledge of the specific MP3 format... so basically it would be just noise to an alien race. To broadcast to alien races that know nothing of us or our specific digital schemes, one must transmit in analog, if they were to have any hope of hearing the transmission as it was intended, & possibly try to interpret it.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MP3 format will be just noise

    It'll be sent in mp3 format... a complex digital format of codecs & compression that would be impossible for any alien race to decode, without full knowledge of the specific MP3 format... so basically it would be just noise to an alien race. To broadcast to alien races that know nothing of us or our specific codecs, one must transmit in analog, if they were to have any hope of hearing the transmission as it was intended, & possibly try to interpret it.

  45. Andy Livingstone

    Don't worry - it's not for entertainment

    This is simply NASA's equivalent of the Mosquito, intended to get rid of the little green men rather than teenagers.

    Hope it works as effectively.

  46. Tim


    400 years travelling through an expanding spacetime metric would cause some serious distortion to the signal. The Aliens would have to jump in their ship and fly towards the signal to hear it as we do...assuming they have ears.

  47. Maksim Rukov

    would you steal a...

    The RIAA better beam out an anti-piracy campaign suitable to aliens before NASA beams out the music. That way the aliens will know it's "wrong" to listen in.

    Would you steal a personal pocket dimension?

    Would you steal a hovercar?

    Would you steal a hologram light matrix cube?

    Listening to music beamed from Earth is STEALING.

    Stealing is ILLEGAL.

  48. peter


    I would recommend Carl Sagan’s book “Murmurs of Earth” where he talks about the golden records put on the two Viking probes.

    One bit says

    "We wanted to send “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles, and all four Beatles gave their approval. But the Beatles did not own the copyright, and the legal status of the piece seemed too murky to risk."

    What's also odd is the copyright starts to run out in 2013 on the first songs, aliens close to us could have enjoyed it legally anyway. Also a much better choice than "Across the Universe" IMHO.

  49. fred

    Rocket girl

    Bring Paris Hilton back. She can sing and will fit into a panty sized rocket and could be blasted off towards the galatic centre.

  50. Mark

    Re: would you steal a...

    What gets me is that their ad is all weasel words. IIRC, it goes something like

    would you steal a car

    would you steal ... (etc)

    Downloading music is piracy

    Stealing is a crime

    No actual untruths except that the gap they put between the last two hides (and therefore implies a connection) that the two statements, though true, do not actually tie together.

    Yes, downloading is piracy (in that illegal distribution [much like US's illegal distribution of Charles Dickens' works, or Hollywood's use of the unlicensed patents for movie production] is piracy).

    And yes, stealing is a crime.

    But they left out that piracy != stealing.

    Just implied it by putting the piracy statement in a lot of guff about stealing.

  51. Dalen

    I, for one, will welcome...

    ... our new Beatles-loving alien overlords.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    A long and winding wormhole..

    ..that leads to your planet.

  53. Alexander Zaitsev

    NASA transmission was not a first MUSICAL interstellar message!

    The world-first musical IRM (Interstellar Radio Message) was transmitted in Aug-Sep 2001 from Evpatoria Deep Space Station to 6 Sun-like stars. It was "The 1st Theremin Concert for Aliens", more info:

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