Science Right Now: Good morning astronauts!

Morning wake up calls have been a NASA tradition since the days of the Apollo missions when mission control staff would serenade astronauts with lines from popular songs. Since then, morning wake up calls are more often recordings of songs played to begin the day’s activities and are followed by a message from the CAPCOM in mission control. These recordings have included “Rocket Man” by Elton John, “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King, the Marine Corps Hymn, “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland and hundreds of other songs.

This morning’s wake up call to the space shuttle Discovery was not a favorite song of an astronaut, instead it was an iconic voice speaking over a piece of iconic science fiction music. At 3.23 EST this morning, William Shatner reprised the role of the Enterprise’s Captain Kirk and addressed the crew of Discovery with the following message spoken over the theme music from the original series of Star Trek:

"Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the space shuttle Discovery. Her 30 year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before,"

Good morning astronauts!

After 30 years of service, 39 flights and 13 trips to the International Space Station, Discovery will return just before noon on Wednesday to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time.

For a full listing of morning wake up calls that have greeted astronauts, check out this list created by NASA historian, Colin Fries.

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