|At least||If nothing else is true; at any rate|
|Drummer||Person who plays an instrument which is struck|
with sticks or the hands
|To land||To bring (an aircraft) down to the ground|
|Tracks||Sections of a record|
|To launch||To put something into motion|
|To assist||To help|
|To comprehend||To understand|
|Pain||Feeling of suffering or discomfort|
|Choice||Act of selecting between two or more possibilities|
|To last||To continue for a period of time|
Kaines is director of the Saturn Express Mission and he decided to send Beagle 3 into space as part of the plan. Beagle 3 is a small "lander" which is brought down on the surface of Saturn to look for signs of life. It also sends a message back to Earth to tell the scientists that it has landed.
Boyd wanted their music to give this message and Kaines was very pleased to accept their offer. The media interest in the band would mean food publicity and lots of money for the project. Arnold Hackett of Boyd said that the music was based on a mathematical sequence and a mixture of tracks from Boyd's "15" album, including "No Distance Let to Run".
This isn't the first time that music has been sent into space. In 1978, the Americans launched spacecraft Voyager 1. They wanted to send something into space in order to assist aliens to understand what it was like to be a human being on planet Earth. The experts decided that the best way to communicate with aliens was with music. They compiled a disc of 89.5 minutes of "Earth's popular songs".
There were several reasons why music was chosen and not words or pictures. Firstly, music is based on numbers and it is easy to analyse in mathematical terms. Because mathematics is the most universal of languages, aliens would perhaps comprehend maths (and therefore music). Secondly, the experts felt that music expressed human emotions better than anything else. It could also represent every human culture on Earth. Every society has its own distinctive music to express its happiness, sadness and pain.
Variety was the main criterion for choosing what music should be included. The committee chose songs from all over the world. Various instruments were included, such as pipes and drums. From the Western classical tradition, they picked music by Beethoven, Mozart and Stranvinsky. Were these really Earth's greatest hits? The answer is, of course, a matter of choice. They will at least be the longest-lasting hits from Earth. The disc is made of very strong metal so that it will last an extremely long time - probably up to 2,000 million years.