The epic guitar track will premiere in full from NASA control headquarters on January 1.

Queen guitarist Brian May will unveil a new solo song, “New Horizons,” next month. The track is his first solo single since ‘Why Don’t We Try Again’ from his 1998 album, Another World. You can listen to a preview of the song above.

May, who has a doctorate in astrophysics, wrote the song in tribute to the on-going NASA New Horizons mission, which will achieve the most distant spacecraft flyby in history on New Year’s Day in an encounter with a remote Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) named Ultima Thule on the edges of the solar system. May is also a New Horizons science collaborator.

“New Horizons” celebrates the 12-year journey of the New Horizons probe, and also features spoken word from the late Stephen Hawking.

Said May about “New Horizons”: "This project has energized me in a new way. For me, it's been an exciting challenge to bring two sides of my life together—astronomy and music. It was Alan Stern, the project instigator of this amazing NASA mission, who threw down the glove last May. He asked if I could come up with a theme for Ultima Thule which could be played as the NH probe reached this new destination. I was inspired by the idea that this is the furthest that the hand of man has ever reached. It will be by far the most distant object we have ever seen at close quarters, through the images which the space craft will beam back to earth. To me, it epitomizes the human spirit's unceasing desire to understand the universe we inhabit.

“Everyone who has devoted so much energy to this mission since its launch in January 2006 will be feeling they are actually inside that small but intrepid vehicle — only about the size of a grand piano — as it pulls off another spectacular close encounter. And through the vehicle's 'eyes,' we will begin to learn, for the very first time, what a Kuiper Belt Object is made of. And pick up precious clues about how our solar system was born."

“New Horizons” will have its global premiere on January 1 at 12:02 a.m. EST from the New Horizons Control Center in Maryland, at the moment when the Ultima Thule encounter is confirmed. 

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