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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 10:03 GMT
Blur tune heads for Mars
Blur pitched the idea to scientist Colin Pillinger
Pop band Blur are heading into the studio on Wednesday to program a piece of music to be played on a space mission to Mars.

A track, written and recorded by the foursome, will be launched into space on the Beagle 2 lander, a British craft that will put down on the Red Planet in 2003.

It is kind of like a musical cave painting, a ponderous, clear tune

Alex James
The track will act as a call sign that will be transmitted back to Earth once Beagle 2 is on the surface.

The idea came from Blur's drummer Dave Rowntree and bassist Alex James who contacted scientist Colin Pillinger.

When Professor Pillinger heard about the European Space Agency's (Esa) Mars Express mission to put a spacecraft in obit around the planet, he campaigned for the robotic expedition to include a small lander that could be sent down to the surface to look for evidence of life.

Professor Pillinger is delighted to bring Blur on board with project.


Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "We have to announce our arrival and normally we send back some piece of computer gobbledygook and wanted to have something that was instantly recognisable.

B2, Esa
Beagle 2 will belt out Blur when it touches down
"When we started this project, we really need to demonstrate credibility and we also need to raise a lot of cash. Blur could provide both media appeal and this signal for us."

Alex James explained that while the composition was loosely based on a mathematical sequence, the band had added their own style.

The tune has overtones of the Dr Who theme music and tracks taken from Blur's 13 album, including No Distance Left to Run.

"It is kind of like a musical cave painting, a ponderous, clear tune," said James.

The BBC's Emma Simpson
"This will be the hippest ever venture to another planet"
Alex James of Blur
"You have to be quite tasteful when you're going into space"
Blur's Mars mission
Watch and listen to Blur's Mars call sign which will be beamed back to Earth
See also:

07 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Couple win Blur royalties battle
20 Dec 00 | Sci/Tech
Landing site chosen for Mars mission
06 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Couple fight for Blur royalties
02 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Blur's future is out of this world
01 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Blur's award hat-trick
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