What do Tom Petty’s songs have in connection with the moon and space?

By SpaceIL Kids Team
by:By SpaceIL Kids Team

Musicians have a great privilege: While they will eventually have to leave this world, their music will live on and continue to touch our hearts even after they pass. The world-renowned and well-loved American singer, Tom Petty, passed away last October (10.02.17), age 66.

Aside from his solo career, Petty was also a member of a band that included several famous musical artists: Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. The band was called The Traveling Wilburys, which many considered to be a supergroup.

In 1989 (when your parents were kids), Petty released a solo album titled “Full Moon Forever”. This album featured one of Petty’s most famous signature songs: “Free Falling”. Something similar happens to a capsule (a chamber for entering Earth’s atmosphere) that is part of the manned Russian spacecraft Soyuz, for example when it’s carrying astronauts or cosmonauts returning to Earth from missions on the International Space Station. After the capsule enters the Earth’s atmosphere and the falling speed of the re-entry capsule is reduced due to the air resistance, a large drogue parachute is deployed and slows down the capsule’s fall. When it reaches the height of one meter above the ground, rocket engines are fired to soften the landing. Teams that monitor the landing know the exact location in advance, and arrive at the landing site to retrieve the cosmonauts or astronauts and take them back home, to Earth’s familiar gravity.

Free Falling / 1989

If you want to learn more about the Soyuz, you can see the article from the Israel Space Agency – here (in Hebrew)

Link to the article about the Soyuz on the Israel Space Agency website

Another song by Petty that the SpaceIL Kids team really loves is “Learning to Fly”:

“I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings

Coming down is the hardest thing.”

Petty was right. Landing is one of the hardest challenges of any aircraft.

We at SpaceIL also put a lot of time and effort into planning the landing phase of our spacecraft on the Moon.

Learning to Fly / 1991

Farewell, Tom Petty, and thanks for the music.

Many thanks to Meni Aviram for the music consulting and to Yoav Landsman for the scientific consulting.


Photos of the Soyuz


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