- Education and Science
The Worlds Beyond the Blue: will.i.am's New Song Debut Sparks New Interest in Space Exploration Among the Youth
When was the last time you lied on the ground and looked at the stars? Regardless if it was yesterday or maybe even over 10 years ago, I’d imagine the feeling was still the same. You wonder what life is like out there. The human race alone is full of complexities and so is the planet we live on today. If explore our galaxy beyond the boundaries of Earth's atmosphere, will we find others like us or completely different from us? And what else is out there that we have yet to see or understand? Most importantly, what milestone could the human race really achieve by going beyond the limitless realm we call outer space?
When NASA successfully landed the Curiosity Rover on Mars, the people who watched it became excited, feeling that we are now another step closer to seeing what lies on the world beyond our skies. Thanks to the contribution made by Black Eye Peas member, will.i.am, that excitement will grow and continue to inspire future generations to keep up this incredible mission.
In a report from ABC news on August 29, will.i.am attended a presentation at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA. A room full of young students was treated to a song that was transmitted from the Curiosity Rover to them featuring orchestra music and high-energy electronica sounds.
While songs from NASA spacecraft had been transmitted to Earth before, it had been the first time in NASA’s history that a transmission was successfully made from the surface of another planet.
The song was titled, “Reach for the Stars,” featuring lyrics such as “And I know the sky might be high, but baby it ain’t really that high.” After the song was debuted, will.i.am addressed the crowd, explaining to the onlookers his passion and desire to support the space exploration program.
In a press statement, will.i.am shared his reasons for creating this song: “Today is about inspiring young people to lead a life without limits placed on their potential and to pursue collaboration between humanity and technology through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education. I know my purpose is to inspire young people, because they will keep inspiring me back.”
The STEAM initiative mentioned by the artist is part of his charity program, i.am.angel Foundation, which strives to provide support to underprivileged students with plans to attend college. These programs include educational and financial initiatives such as i.am Scholarship and i.am College TRACK. The Foundation has been in place since 2009 and has reported to have successfully enabled over 90% of its beneficiaries to attend a four-year university program.
In addition, the Foundation’s news feed recently posted the song’s debut at JPL. Furthermore, it had confirmed that a partnership had been formed between the Foundation and Discovery Education to bring the STEAM program to students across the nation called “i.am.STEAM.”
More information about the Foundation and its initiatives can be found at this site:
According to the ABC report, the song is currently available for purchase via ITUNES at $1.29 with proceeds going to support inner city schools with science-focused programs.
On August 6, approximately a day after the rover landed on Mars, will.i.am was interviewed by NASA about the STEAM initiative. He explains the goals behind the program and his hopes of showing young students how “cool” science and technology can truly be:
Interview with NASA about STEAM initiative
You heard will.i.am’s credit towards computers being a great tool for his music creation. When he made his presentation at JBL, he proved how well he knew how to use those tools...and his audience wasn't disappointed:
Reach for the Stars Debut
When I think about the song’s message along with a number of space documentaries I’ve seen in the past, there are two major points that come to mind.
In the first respect, I believe it is incredibly important to keep an open mind about what exists out there in the world. After all, the research done about space has given us numerous clues about the creation of life in the galaxy beyond the big bang theory. These new discoveries include the composition of stardust. This has lead many scientists to believe that such composition is responsible for the existence of many things around the galaxy including us and continues to create new objects to this day. If such factors are the case, then how can we say we are the only beings to have benefited from such a complex origin? With that in mind, wouldn’t we find out about other cultures that could help form new ideas, which could improve our daily lives?
Of course, discovery of new life is just a small part of the equation. When we set a goal, we have a plan to make something happen. Some goals can be easy to achieve either because they don’t require many steps or they have been done before and we are simply trying to improve the process. Then there are those rare and precious moments where we set goals to achieve something we have never tried before. It can be intimidating to us and yes even terrifying. We are scared of trying to do something different and beyond our knowledge. It can blow up in our face and could result in the loss of time, money, and worst of all pride.
will.i.am has made it clear that he doesn’t believe in the impossible nor does he fear it. Rather, he sees the tools available to him that can make his dreams become a reality. These tools are deeply rooted with his knowledge of science, technology, math, art, and many other skills passed down from a solid educational background. It made him who he is today: a successful artist who loves doing what he does.
These tools are universal and can thus be passed onto other people to develop their lives, which is exactly what will.i.am is trying to achieve for the children of today. The fact is that many of these kids probably take the subjects that are part of the STEAM initiative for granted, thinking it’s something they have to learn to get through school. In other cases, students may be attending a school that doesn’t have the resources or the inclination to develop a great deal of focus on such programs. As a result, many students grow up not knowing the full value that science, math, and technology can have on their personal growth.
Thanks to the initiatives put forth by this artist, they can see the value of that now. They can see that education can get them the dream job they’ve always wanted. This education will also help them see the world beyond that, visiting other cities and even other countries to see what life has to offer. More importantly, it exposes them to other cultures, environments, and civilizations that will help them develop their personal outlook on life. Technology along with science and mathematics as its building blocks can make such things possible. Web cameras and cell phones help us to communicate beyond our backyards. Computers illustrate graphical representations of buildings we hope to construct. Vehicles like cars and planes can take us to destinations as lively as cities like Chicago or as naturally breathtaking as the mountains of Chimney Rock, NC. It is these tools of science, math, and technology that help us see the world beyond our backyard.
When we do, we want far more, and space exploration provides the facet we need to achieve this dream. So many of us want to know first-hand what the surface of another planet looks like. So many of us want to witness the real power behind a supernova. So many of us want to know for sure if it is possible to use black holes to travel to another point in space quicker than the blink of an eye. All these feats, in reality, seem impossible, yet the human mind has learned and experienced so much that we want to learn and experience more. At best, we may give rise to the next famous astronaut who will one day set foot on foreign soil where new scientific breakthroughs can be found and improve the lifestyles of so many generations. At worst, we may yet be years away from setting foot on another planet, yet the push from people like will.i.am will encourage so many to look beyond the boundaries and limits they set on what they can achieve.
The youth of today and even more grown adults like you and I are living in an exciting time where technology and science have opened so many doors to a world we never thought existed.
You say the sky’s the limit? On the contrary…the ceiling of discovery and achievement is far higher than that!