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Space, The Final Frontier


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#1 Mark Stayton

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:10 AM

Last night's successful landing of the Mars Spirit rover set me to wondering: does anyone know if an astronaut has taken (and played) a musical instrument into space?

Fun fact: The cost-per-pound to put a payload into low earth orbit using the shuttle is approximately $5,000 (source), so it would cost approximately $15,000 to send a 3-pound concertina into space.

Maybe a pennywhistle...

#2 Richard Morse

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:42 AM

I've heard that the first instrument in space was a Hohner "Little Lady" model harmonica in 1965. It was "smuggled" aboard the Gemini 4 spacecraft by astronaut Wally Schirra who played Jingle Bells on it.

A free-reed cousin!

#3 JimLucas

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 09:49 AM

...it would cost approximately $15,000 to send a 3-pound concertina into space.

Don't forget the weight of the air needed to play it... and the player! :)

#4 JimLucas

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 10:23 AM

...put a payload into low earth orbit...

Low earth orbit? Lacks imagination!

How about Bob Tedrow's red concertina on the Red Planet?

............. :)

#5 Mark Stayton

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 10:44 AM

How about Bob Tedrow's red concertina on the Red Planet?


You'd need a much larger bellows, not to mention longer arms. :)

The average air pressure on the surface of Mars is only about 0.1 psi, versus 14.7 psi on Earth.

#6 Mark Stayton

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 11:14 AM

I've heard that the first instrument in space was a Hohner "Little Lady" model harmonica in 1965. It was "smuggled" aboard the Gemini 4 spacecraft by astronaut Wally Schirra who played Jingle Bells on it.


Thanks for the tip, Rich. Here's an excerpt from the Gemini VI mission history I found on the NASA site:

Gemini VI was launched on 15 December 1965, crewed by Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford. The mission was to execute the world's first on-orbit rendezvous with another spacecraft, Gemini VII.

The rendezvous was successful, and shortly before re-entry, Stafford caught everybody's attention for a few minutes. In an excited tone he reported:

"Gemini VII, this is Gemini VI. We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit. . . . Looks like he might be going to reenter soon. Stand by one. . . . You just might let me to pick up that thing."

Over "one," the communications circuit, came the strains of the pilots playing "Jingle Bells."

Michael Knapp, producer of the Bill Dana "Jose Jimenez in Orbit" record album in the early sixties, had given Schirra a small four-hole harmonica on 8 December 1965. (Knapp also provided many of the music tapes that were broadcast to the Gemini crews from the Mission Control Center.) Stafford, the other half of the two-man space band, jingled small bells.

The harmonica and bells are both in the Smithsonian collection. Here are links to photos:

Gemini VI Harmonica

Gemini VI Bells

#7 AlexCJones

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 02:05 PM

A collapsable guitar was brought to the Mir Sapce station in 1995 by the crew of the Atlantis. At one point there were actualy 2 guitars. I read somewhere about 2 astronauts/cosmonauts playing guitars.

Here's some of what I can find using a Google search:

http://www.s-t.com/d...-95/shuttle.htm

#8 David Barnert

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Posted 04 January 2004 - 11:26 PM

A collapsable guitar was brought to the Mir Sapce station in 1995 by the crew of the Atlantis.

I have one of these guitars, and as it happens I was just showing it and its web site to friends last evening, so I had the site fresh in my mind today when I saw this thread. Look here:

http://www.soloette.com/space.htm

Pictures and everything.

Edited by David Barnert, 04 January 2004 - 11:27 PM.


#9 Wrigglefingers

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 11:44 AM

You'd need a much larger bellows, not to mention longer arms.  :) 

The average air pressure on the surface of Mars is only about 0.1 psi, versus 14.7 psi on Earth.

......... And extra large thumbstraps for those suited-up English-playing space cadets.

Jill

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#10 fiddlersgreen

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 12:15 PM

With a concertina in space you wouldn,t have to worry about the proper position of the tina on your knee or hanging from your neck due to zero gravity. However, the for the "every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" rule might prove interesting. Maybe the pumping of the bellows would act as mini thrusters. Wonder what would happen with Scottish Pipes.....

#11 JimLucas

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 04:17 PM

With a concertina in space you wouldn,t have to worry about the proper position of the tina on your knee or hanging from your neck due to zero gravity.  However, the for the "every action there is an equal and  opposite reaction" rule might prove interesting.  Maybe the pumping of the bellows would act as mini thrusters.

Ah, that's where Göran's desire for symmetry becomes significant. If your pushing and pulling are symmetrical, they can't push you to either side. Even if you held one side fixed (on your leg?), you would only oscillate slightly, as your center of mass shifted back and forth (not by much, as you presumably mass much more than your concertina). For thrust you would need an instrument valved so that air only entered at one end and exited at the other end.

On the other hand, swinging the instrument in a circle to do "The Bells" could cause your body to rotate, and you might wind up "upside down" to your original orientation.

Wonder what would happen with Scottish Pipes.....

The first murder in orbit? :o

#12 Chris Timson

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 03:20 AM

One benefit, of course, for most of us. In space, no-one can hear you play...

Chris

#13 JimLucas

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 03:29 AM

One benefit, of course, for most of us. In space, no-one can hear you play...

That's if at least one of the player and "listener" is outside the vehicle. Which do you think it should be? :)

#14 Robin Madge

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 06:59 AM

It's music Jim, but not as we know it.

(appologies to Trekkies)

Robin

#15 Mark Stayton

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 07:44 AM

It's worse than that, it's free reeds, Jim.

Free Reed Trekkin', across the universe...

;)

#16 Robin Madge

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 10:24 AM

The bellows cana take it Captain.

Robin

#17 David Barnert

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 11:04 AM

I'm a doctor, Jim. Not a critic.

#18 Rhomylly

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 12:47 PM

Jeffries are not logical.




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