Houston, we have a pop band. The hit U.K. boy band One Direction unveiled its latest music video "Drag Me Down" and it has a decisively out-of-this-world vibe thanks to NASA.
In the music video, One Direction's Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are shown training for a space mission at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, home base for the space agency's astronaut corps. The four don bright orange NASA spacesuits, meet the awesome humanoid robot Robonaut 2, and climb inside a mockup of the new Orion space capsule, which made its maiden voyage last year in an unmanned flight atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket.
But wait, space fans. There's more.
It looks like the One Direction also took NASA's new Multi-Mission Space Exploration Vehicle for a spin and made a pit stop at Ellington Field, an airstrip near the Johnson Space Center that houses the T-38 supersonic jets used by astronauts to fly across the country.
Like real-life astronauts, One Direction's training all adds up to a main event, with the band climbing inside an Orion spacecraft and launching (atop a blue and white version of the normally yellow-orange Delta IV Heavy booster) into space for destinations unknown.
While I admit, I'm no die-hard One Direction fan (more of a David Bowie, "Space Oddity" kind of guy), the sheer production value of "Drag Me Down" and its depiction of space exploration are top-notch.
I may be dating myself, but the last time I personally remember NASA joining forces with a popular band for a music video, it was Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing." And of course that one had Bruce Willis in it. And an asteroid. (I loved "Armageddon.")
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.