Queen guitarist Brian May releases song as tribute to NASA's historic New ...

He may be better known as Queen's lead guitarist, but Dr Brian May also holds a doctorate in astrophysics - and today revealed a song he wrote after being asked by NASA to support its latest historic mission.

'We're off to New Horizons so hold on to the wheel', he sings in the rare solo song, which was first played as the craft passed Ultima Thule - an object a billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto, last night.

May was at Mission Control for the event, and today released the track New Horizons, his first solo single since 1998, on YouTube. 

Scroll down to listen to the track

Brian May, lead guitarist of the rock band Queen and astrophysicist, discussing the upcoming New Horizons flyby of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, on December 31, 2018 at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland

Brian May, lead guitarist of the rock band Queen and astrophysicist, discussing the upcoming New Horizons flyby of the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule, on December 31, 2018 at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland

The 'New Horizons' track (Ultima Thule mix), had its global premiere broadcast live on January 1 at 12.02am EST (5.02am GMT) from the New Horizons control Center in Maryland, USA, at the moment when the historic Ultima Thule encounter is confirmed.   

'This project has energised me in a new way,' May said.

New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern (L) of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, CO and Brian May (R), lead guitarist of the rock band Queen and astrophysicist after a New Years event at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern (L) of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, CO and Brian May (R), lead guitarist of the rock band Queen and astrophysicist after a New Years event at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

 For me it's been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together - Astronomy and Music.' 

May says  Alan Stern, the Project Instigator of the NASA Mission, who approached him in May about writing a special song. 

'He asked if I could come up with a theme for Ultima Thule which could be played as the NH probe

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