Like many around the world, the Robinson Family Aerospace Mission is deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Aretha Franklin. We would like to express our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones as well as celebrate a life that has touched so many throughout her career.
With close to 50 Top 40 hits, 18 Grammy awards, and more than 20 No. 1 R&B hits, Aretha Franklin is unquestionably one of the greatest vocalists of all time. Universally known as the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin gave us timeless classics from “Chain of Fools” to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” At the height of the Civil Rights Movement, her unapologetic and uncompromising song “Respect” became an anthem and an emblem of pride that galvanized the fight for equality. Her incomparable vocal stylings and self-assured lyrics would also inspire activists in the then emerging feminist movement. Franklin’s series of Grammys and countless chart-topping songs afforded her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, which made her the first woman to earn an induction. In 2005, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, for her unparalleled voice, activism and triumphs. Certainly, Aretha Franklin’s voice will be missed, but her legacy will continue to be celebrated and remembered for ages to come.
In the wake of her passing, family and friends, artists in the music industry, and fans all over the world have shared and recounted their favorite memories and moments of the Queen of Soul. Even NASA expressed their condolences and updated us on an asteroid that had been named in her honor: Asteroid 249516 Aretha.
The Robinson Family Aerospace Mission would also like to join those in saying our farewells to the Queen of Soul and further pay tribute to her by announcing that her name is on the surface of Mars. On May 25, 2008, the Phoenix Mars Lander descended onto the surface of Mars carrying Aretha Franklin’s name. A year prior to the launch of Phoenix, the Robinson Family Aerospace Mission sought to pay homage to the icon by sending her name to the “Visions of Mars” DVD disc, created by Jon Lomberg and The Planetary Society.
As we say our goodbyes to the Queen of Soul, NASA’s InSight Mars Lander is heading towards the Red Planet, carrying her name once again to Mars. When InSight arrives at Mars in November 2018, it would mark the second time in which Aretha Franklin’s name is at the surface of Mars.