The band put the finishing touches to the track which will be the first rock tune ever heard on the red planet... Hear it on NME.COM now

The scientist responsible for making sure BLUR will be the first rock band ever heard on Mars has been speaking about the project.

A track written and recorded by Blur will be launched into space onboard Beagle 2, a search probe bound for the red planet in 2003. Professor Colin Pillinger of the Open University told this morning’s (January 30) Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that he was delighted Blur were involved.

“When we started this project, we really need to demonstrate credibility and we also need to raise a lot of cash. Blur could provide both media appeal and this signal for us,” he said. Blur’s song will be used as a call beacon beamed to earth from the red planet to signal that Beagle 2 has touched down safely.

“We have to announce our arrival and normally we send back some piece of computer gobbledegook and wanted to have something that was instantly recognisable,” explained Professor Pillinger.

A version of the track, also called ‘Beagle 2’ – after the ship Darwin sailed to the Galapagos Islands during research for ‘Origin Of The Species’ – has already featured as a B-side to ‘No Distance Left To Run’ , the 1999 single from the band’s ’13’ album. Bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree are back in the studio today to digitise the track readying it for use on the probe.

Based loosely on a mathematical sequence with elements of the theme-tune to cult science fiction show ‘Dr Who’, the track has been described by James as “kind of like a musical cave painting, a ponderous, clear tune”.

Beagle 2 will piggyback to Mars aboard the European Space Agency”s Mars Express. If things go to plan it will take off in June 2003 and land on Boxing Day that year. The probe will remain active for 180 days.

To hear Blur’s ‘Beagle 2’ before the Martians do, [url=] click here