LONDON An intergalactic celebration of The Beatles is launched on Monday with the beaming of their peace anthem "Across the Universe" into outer space.
The man behind the idea, which marks the 40th anniversary of the recording of the song in 1968, is an avid Beatles fan who has persuaded U.S. space agency NASA to kick off the party and now hopes to convert alien life forms to The Beatles.
"At the moment we are sending up Morse code as a way of contacting aliens," Martin Lewis told BBC radio. "Maybe we should send them something a little more cheery."
If all goes according to plan, NASA will transmit the Beatles tune via its deep space network at Midnight British time.
At exactly the same time, fans across the world are being asked to play "Across The Universe" in a bid to "create a harmonic convergence" around planet earth and throughout the universe.
According to a statement from NASA, the transmission will be aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is 431 light years away from earth. The song will travel across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney, who beamed his first intergalactic concert to the International Space Station in 2005, congratulated NASA and asked them to pass on his regards to anyone else out there.
"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" he said in a statement released by the space agency. "Send my love to the aliens. All the best, Paul."
Fans can watch the event online via the Web site www.acrosstheuniverseday.com.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland. Editing by Paul Casciato)