NASA leaders say that human exploration of Mars will begin in the 2030s, but a chance for musical exploration of our solar system will come this way in just a matter of days. This Saturday night the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will lead the Concert for the Planet as part of the Global Orchestra Foundations celebration of Earth Hour.
NASA Langley has been invited to serve as one of several featured locations for the Global Orchestra. Details of LaRC’s (Langley Research Centre's) participation are still being worked out, but plans call for a contingent of players to gather at the centre very early on the morning of March 28.
Kelly Murphy, who is active in the Hampton Roads music community and who also works in the Aerothermodynamics Branch at NASA Langley said "I thought it was incredibly cool sounding," and continued to say "I think anytime groups can come together in a more public format and be connected, regionally, nationally, international, or globally, as in this case, there’s real value to that. And the goal here is to raise awareness of issues, to talk about the health of the planet,” Murphy said. “Obviously, that’s a big mission for NASA.”
The inclusion of 70 musicians from NASA's Langley Centre, consisting of NASA employees and local Adult and Youth Orchestra Members, is a huge addition to the Concert for the Planet.
At NASA Langley, there is the small matter of the time difference. The concert will take place 8:30 p.m. our time, which is 5:30 a.m. in Hampton, Virginia. Murphy knows that asking musicians to crawl out of bed that early on a Saturday is a tough sell. Still, she thinks that people will be willing to sacrifice some snooze time to be part of a unique, globally significant event.
“Also, we’re NASA,” Murphy said. “Come on, we launch stuff around the clock! We have to go with the launch windows for things. So, we’re on board. It’s part of our culture.”