Lolita Lopez, Sergio LeLevier, Tom Bravo
Boyle Heights students joined NASA engineers to witness the first broadcast of a song from Mars to Earth. Artist will.i.am says this was one of the biggest moments of his career. Lolita Lopez reports from La Canada Flintridge for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2012.
Interplanetary history was made Tuesday when NASA's Curiosity Mars rover beamed a song from the red planet back to Earth.
"Reach for the Stars (Mars Edition)," a song from musician will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas had made a trip 708 million miles - from Earth to Mars and back again.
The 1:30 p.m. debut was broadcast for a group of 53 students who sat alongside engineers at JPL near Pasadena.
The tune is in part about the singer's passion for science, technology and space exploration.
I know that Mars might be far
But baby it ain’t really that far
Let’s reach for the stars
The song was posted by various unofficial accounts on YouTube.
The ninth-graders from Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights are participants in the i.am College Track Boyle Heights Center, which aims to get kids from the low-income community on to secondary education. will.i.am, who is also from Boyle Heights, founded the i.am.angel Foundation in 2009 with the goal of providing help to students in need.
"I lived your lifestyle and I got out. This is how i got out, by this combination of support. Now I have a combination of support for you guys," will.i.am told the students at JPL.
Engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboroatory in La Canada Flintridge explained to students how will.i.am's song got to Mars and back to Earth on Tuesday.
Since the rover has no speakers, the song was not actually played acoss the surface of the red planet.
The event also marked a new $10 million youth engagement initiative around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education. It's a collaboration between will.i.am's foundation and Maryland-based Discovery Education, which makes digital educational materials.