Astronauts love a good orbital jam session. Gemini 6’s crew played “Jingle Bells” in space on harmonica in 1965, for example, and keyboard singalongs have broken out on the International Space Station (ISS). And who could forget astronaut Chris Hadfield’s free-floating 2015 performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”?
This rich tradition of off-Earth music will now be further amplified by the “Telemetron,” a recently-unveiled futuristic instrument developed by Nicole L'Huillier and Sands Fish at MIT’s Media Lab. Unlike the guitars, synthesizers, flutes, and other instruments that have previously made their way into space, the Telemetron is specifically designed for a microgravity environment. Instead of plucking strings or blowing into a reed, to play the Telemetron all astronauts have to do is let it tumble around in midair.