NASA Launches New Space Station ... on Internet Radio

Some album covers with space themes
Some album covers with space themes. (Image credit: Columbia, Factory, MCA, RCA, Virgin, Warner Bros.)

Houston, we have a radio station.

NASA today (Dec. 12) unveiled a new online radio station dubbed "Third Rock: America's Space Station" in the U.S. space agency's latest bid to spread its space exploration to the American public. The radio station, which launched today, will broadcast new rock, indie and alternative music in a format that is "crafted specifically to speak the language of tech-savvy young adults," NASA officials said in a statement.

The goal, they added, is to showcase NASA's space exploration missions in a novel format for today's youth. The space agency is working with the Houston-based company RFC Media to run the Third Rock radio under a no-cost Space Act Agreement.

"NASA constantly is looking for new and innovative ways to engage the public and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers," said David Weaver, associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We have led the way in innovative uses of new media and this is another example of how the agency is taking advantage of these important communication tools."

Third Rock radio is accessible via the space agency's website, and is also being optimized for NASA's mobile phone applications for iPhone and Droid devices.

"Today's 4G audience craves new music and enjoys finding it," said Pat Fant, RFC Media co-founder and chief operating officer. "We've pulled out the best songs and the deepest tracks from a full spectrum of rock artists across many styles and decades. NASA features and news items are embedded throughout the programming alongside greetings by celebrity artists."

The Third Rock radio station is also expected to highlight high-tech job openings in the engineering, science and information technology fields, NASA officials said.

This isn't the first time NASA has sought to deliver its space exploration message to the public through novel digital avenues. The space agency has developed several mobile phone apps to highlight its achievements and regularly uses social networking services like Facebook and Twitter to reach a larger audience.

NASA astronauts living on the International Space Station, for example, regularly post mission updates and photos online via Twitter. Astronaut Dan Burbank is currently the only American living aboard the space station and is posting updates under the Twitter handle AstroCoastie.

NASA's "Third Rock" Internet radio station is available here:

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