Queen guitarist Brian May has launched New Horizons, his first solo single since 1998's Why Don’t We Try Again.
New Horizons is named after the New Horizon space probe, and premiered on NASA TV on New Years Day, to coincide with the probe passing Ultima Thule in the Kuiper Belt, an object located a billion miles beyond Pluto, and the most distant rock ever to be visited by the human race.
“I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the Hand Of Man has ever reached," says May. "It will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the space craft will beam back to Earth.”
May says the project “epitomises the human spirit’s unceasing desire to understand the universe we inhabit” and adds: “Everyone who has devoted so much energy to this mission since its launch in January 2006 will be feeling they are actually inside that small but intrepid vehicle as it pulls off another spectacular close encounter."
As a science collaborator on the project, May was in the control room when the probe flew past Pluto four years ago. “It was quite mind-blowing, because all through my childhood Pluto was just a white dot in a picture book," he says. "Nobody knew anything more than that about it really. Then suddenly you have this wonderful spacecraft zooming past it and taking the most incredible close-up pictures."
Pictures of Ultima Thule have already reached scientists on Earth, and a much clearer picture will develop as data reaches the New Horizons team over the next few days.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack is set for a double vinyl release in February, while a limited edition picture disc will arrive in April.