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Curiosity transmits will.i.am song from Mars to Earth

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (BNO NEWS) -- A recorded song on Tuesday was beamed back to Earth from another planet for the first time in history, NASA officials said.

The hit song, "Reach for the Stars," by musician will.i.am was transmitted from the surface of Mars by the Curiosity rover, which was heard by students, special guests and news media that gathered at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

"Mars has always fascinated us, and the things Curiosity tells us about it will help us learn about whether or not life was possible there," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a video message.

Encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Bolden addressed the crowd, speaking about what future human explorers can expect.

"I can think of no greater way to honor NASA pioneer Neil Armstrong's life and legacy than to inspire today's students to follow his path," NASA Associate Administrator for Education and space shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin said, following Armstrong's death his death last Saturday.

"That first footprint that Neil placed on the lunar surface left an indelible mark in history," Melvin added. "Perhaps one of our students here today or watching on NASA Television will be the first to set foot on the surface of Mars and continue humanity's quest to explore."

Armstrong served as commander during the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar landing mission, in July 1969. He immediately rose to fame around the world for being the first man to land a craft on the moon and then the first man to step on its surface, after which he and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin explored it for over two hours.

After completing a journey of more than 300 million miles from Earth to Mars and back, the opening orchestral strains of "Reach for the Stars" filled the auditorium. The event added to continuing worldwide interest in Curiosity's mission.

During the event, will.i.am's i.am angel Foundation and Discovery Education announced a $10 million classroom education initiative that will reach 25 million students annually, including many from underserved communities. Focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) educational themes, the Discovery Education initiative will incorporate NASA content and space exploration themes as part of the curriculum.

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