What do a classic rock band and Pluto’s smallest moon have in common? Answer: they both share the same name. STYX met with members of NASA’s New Horizons team yesterday, including the scientist who discovered Styx – Pluto’s faintest moon – in 2012. The unusual convergence took place at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, mission operations center for New Horizons.
The unmanned New Horizons spacecraft is on final approach to Pluto and its moons, just days away from a historic July 14 flyby that will return the first images of the mysterious dwarf planet. STYX’s Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar), Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), and Todd Sucherman (drums) were treated to a tour of New Horizons mission control from mission operations manager Alice Bowman. Principal investigator Alan Stern wowed the trio with the latest images from New Horizons, while Stern and dozens of project members gathered at APL’s main auditorium for a group photo as the band’s hit “Come Sail Away” hung in the air.
Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips (along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo), have performed more live since ’99 than all of the previous years of its career combined. Two Super-Bowl appearances, Pollstar Box Office chart-topping tours with Def Leppard, Journey, Boston, REO Speedwagon, Bad Company (to name only a few), two more studio albums and no end in sight, STYX continues to conquer the planet, one venue at a time.