Eppes One Spot Away From A Song In Space

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Local musician Tray Eppes holds down third place in NASA's contest to wake up the astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, now due to lift off on April 29.

NASA has announced the top original two songs will be used as musical alarm clocks during the mission.

Eppes' “Rocket Scientist” has received over 83,000 votes, or nearly 12 percent of the ballots cast, and has outdistanced the four and fifth place songs, which have 3.2 percent and 1.5 percent of the votes, respectively.

The top two songs, meanwhile, are neck in neck with 40 percent of the votes each.

To vote in the online contest go to this web address: https://songcontest.nasa.gov/toporig.aspx

NASA narrowed an original field of 1,350 songs to the top ten now vying for the top two spots with less than two weeks to go.

“Rocket Scientist” was inspired by a friend of Eppes, Kelly Murphy, a Tidewater woman who actually is a rocket scientist for NASA.

The wake-up song has become a NASA tradition and family members of the astronauts normally pick the daily tune for the musical alarm clock. Many of the songs are by musical hall of famers. Paul McCartney, for example, performed “Good Day Sunshine” live to wake up astronauts in 2005/

NASA decided on a change of pace for Endeavour's final mission and it was NASA personnel who narrowed the contest field down to the final top ten out of the 1,350 entries.

“It took a little while for me to come up with the concept,” Eppes explained of the “Rocket Scientist's” lyrics, “and what it turned into was a smart woman with a not so smart boyfriend and that just seemed like a universal theme and it seemed very natural for me to come up with those lyrics for it.”

The very woman who provided the inspiration for the song, itself, urged Eppes, also a potter, to enter the song in the NASA contest.

“Kelly, the rocket scientist, emailed me and said, 'Have you seen this (the NASA contest)? How perfect is your song?'” she asked him.

And just one spot away from a second place finish that would see it broadcast into space.