Alternative rock band R.E.M.'s front man Michael Stipe delivered a snippet of the band's 'Man on the Moon' for the crew of Space Shuttle 'Atlantis' on Thursday morning reports The Register.

Stipe said: Good morning, Atlantis. This is Michael Stipe from R.E.M. We wish you much success on your mission and thank all the women and men at NASA who have worked on the shuttle for three decades. From Earth, a very good morning to you.

Stipe's rendition of 'Man on the Moon' for the crew is not surprising as the singer explained that he had recorded the song for NASA in Venice, Italy where Galileo first presented to the Venetian government his eight-power telescope, and in 1610 wrote 'The Starry Messenger' an account of his early astronomical discoveries that altered forever our view of our place in the universe.

Elto John too sent a similar message to the International Space Station yesterday to acknowledge the closure of the space shuttle programme.

Good morning, Atlantis, this is Elton John. We wish you much success on your mission. A huge thank you to all the men and women at NASA who worked on the shuttle for the last three decades, he said.

The Register reports that the crew of 'Atlantis' is currently engaged in unloading 9,403 pounds (4.26 metric tonnes) of spare and supplies from the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module as its closure draws close.