Pete and Joan Wernick woke up Feb. 27 to hear that a song they recorded more than 25 years ago was being played on Mars. NASA announced that on Feb. 27, the Mars Spirit Rover was awakened by the song “Big Rock in the Road” to start up and make its final approach to an imposing rock dubbed “Humphrey.”

The banjo-driven song with a message is heard on the CD Dr. Banjo Steps Out (Rounder FF046), recorded in 1975 by Grammy-nominated banjoist Pete Wernick, with vocals by his wife Joan. The couple learned the song from Del McCoury and the recorded version was first released on a Flying Fish LP by Country Cooking and the Fiction Brothers.

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