On Saturday, NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took a break from science to organize a small musical concert in space, showing their talent in this field.
Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev posted a picture of the event on Twitter, showing how the crew played with guitars, flutes and even a piece of ISS equipment that was used as a hand drum. Cosmonauts Artemyev and Anton Shkaplerov played with flutes while NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Drew Feustel wielded the acoustic axes. NASA’s Ricky Arnold was on drums, and the Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai was most likely capturing the performance on camera.
“So cool…music on the space station!!! Next time please play a bit louder, so we can hear you when you fly over Germany again. We will wave from down here,” A Twitter follower commented on Oleg’s post.
“Keep up the good work guys and Keep Smiling! (Oh, my goodness, you look like you’re having so much fun, but I know you are working hard too.) ” another user said.
According to the CNET, two small-bodied guitars used by NASA astronauts are from Canadian maker Larrivee.
The ISS crew has named their musical group as AstroHawaii. There is no information about exactly what songs were played by the makeshift super group.
NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel said this was probably the first jam session of its kind on the ISS.
“We think this may be the first ‘Guitar Jam’ in Space with amplifiers and effects! It was quite a rock n roll show.” Astronaut Feustel said in his tweet.
We think this may be the first "Guitar Jam" in Space with amplifiers and effects! It was quite a rock n roll show. https://t.co/o6MVQ9dM6R
— A.J. (Drew) Feustel (@Astro_Feustel) April 28, 2018
While it might be the first jam session of its kind on the ISS, it is definitely not the first instance of astronauts playing with some musical instruments on board the ISS.
In 2013, Canadian astronaut and former ISS commander Chris Hadfield’s performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the ISS went viral on internet.
After returning on the Earth, Hadfield revealed how astronauts play guitar in space. According to Hadfield, a guitar doesn’t need tuning in space as there is no humidity or change in temperature. Moreover, in absence of gravity, astronauts have to relearn finger placement (gravity on earth helps the musician track the placement of frets).
In space, there no need for a guitar strap, but the musician must be hooked onto a fixed object to avoid floating around and bumping into things during a set.