At the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins in Laurel, Maryland, the New Horizons space probe team rang in 2019 at midnight and then called Dr. Brian May (that’s right, the guitarist of Queen) to the stage. As part of the celebration for the probe’s imminent flyby of Ultima Thule, an object in the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the solar system, Dr. May premiered the music video for his new song, “New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix).” From the stage, Dr. May called his song a “new theme for New Horizons.”
Several minutes later, the team marked the New Horizons probe flying by Ultima Thule. This is the second major success of the mission, the first being the Pluto flyby in 2015. The team had pulled Dr. May in at the time to process some Pluto images (see our interview on the subject), so it was only fitting to have him back for this new flyby.
“I hope it’s a worthy tribute,” Dr. May said from the stage of his song and video. Of that he can be assured.