Scrolling Spaceways With Steely Dan And Shonen Knife

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Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with music from the heavens, as chosen by astronaut Stan Love.

"In space, every day is an important day of work," Love says. But when he was sent up to the space station to drop off and pick up crew members, the returning station crew member asked, "Dudes, where are the tunes?"

Suddenly, the shuttle mid-deck is filled with Steely Dan and "some other kind of old-guy music, since we're largely old guys here," Love says. All the lights were turned off in the cabin as the shuttle flew across "the cloud tops at 17,000 miles per hour, so [the Earth is] always spinning underneath you, scrolling past.

"People tend to portray scientists as being dry, being only interested in numbers, not interested in arts or the emotions that art brings out in us," Love says. "That is just not true. I actually made a special playlist for space: David Bowie's 'Space Oddity,' XTC's 'Another Satellite,' and I've got Shonen Knife's 'Riding on a Rocket.' To me, it makes the experience more complete if you can be working with the numbers and the science and the physics and the engineering, but also have an artistic, emotional side to the activity, as well."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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