Parody Video Takes Ariana Grande's NASA Fandom to New Heights

NASA's newest music video from interns at the Johnson Space Center in Houston has a definite lunar flavor — and it's feminine.

The interns highlighted the agency's forthcoming Artemis program, which aims to land the next astronauts on the moon, including the first woman to reach the moon, in 2024. The video is an educational parody of pop star Ariana Grande's "NASA" song, which was released earlier this year. 

In her song, Grande highlighted NASA's push to land women on the moon in 2024, including a slightly remixed Neil Armstrong quote saying, "That's one small step for woman, one giant leap for womankind."

Related: Best Space Music Videos Ever: A Rockin' Chart Countdown

The interns carry on the baton in their parody video, also called "NASA." They highlight men and women working on future lunar exploration. Clips of female interns are Photoshopped dancing on the moon, along with imagery from NASA's Apollo missions. Lyrics from the parody song include "Back in lunar orbit there is still more to uncover" and "With our eyes, surely we will see another Earthrise."

The video is an homage to both new and old NASA launch technologies, including launches of Apollo, space shuttle and SpaceX missions. In between the clips, interns show off some of the current Johnson Space Center (JSC) facilities used for the International Space Station, including a full-size interior simulator, a submerged analog International Space Station in the large pool of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, and a replica of the Cupola observatory that is often used for astronaut photography (as well as relaxation).

The interns also take their exploration of JSC outdoors and into the tourist areas. They show the lunar Saturn V rocket displayed on its side. They ride on the carts that take tourists around the center and walk around the footpaths in spacesuits. "The lyrics and scenes in the video have been reimagined in order to inform the public about the amazing work going on at NASA and the Johnson Space Center," NASA said in a description of the video on YouTube.

Grande herself expressed adoration for the video on Twitter, including emojis of a moon and a heart in her message: "oh my. this is so pure and special and insane," she wrote. "hi everyone over there that is doing such incredible work ! thank u for taking the time to make this ! my heart is ..... bursting."

Past music videos by NASA interns have included a 2012 parody of the wildly popular Psy song from that year, "Gangnam Style," a 2014 edition called "All About That Space" (a parody of "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor) and a 2015 one called "NASA Is Good" (based on Andy Grammer's "Honey, I'm Good").

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: