Nuevo Culture

WATCH: NASA Team Goes Viral for Dancing to Banda During the 2024 Eclipse in Mazatlán

A NASA team has gone viral on social media for educating while embracing Mexican culture during the 2024 solar eclipse. The team was present in Mazatlán, Mexico, the first North American city to see a total solar eclipse. They were there to do research on the eclipse but also to hand out eclipse glasses, educate on the dangers of looking at the eclipse without protection, and even had a piece of the moon for people to touch. But it’s them dancing to banda that has delighted people.

There is a backstory for why the NASA team has been so celebrated in Mexico and gone viral on social media. Mazatlán, like many other cities in Latin America, has been hit with gentrification. This city, which is particularly known for its banda music, has seen an influx of white tourists and digital nomads complaining about the iconic music and requesting it be banned. The locals didn’t take that lightly, with protests breaking out where they proudly played banda as loud as they could.

That’s why the NASA team dancing through the streets of Mazatlán to banda was seen as a symbol of respect and appreciation of Mexican culture. Add to that the fact that the team came to educate people, and they were some of the most popular people in Mazatlán during eclipse day. It got to the point where most of the videos posted on social media had people commenting about how these were the kind of tourists that locals wanted in Mazatlán.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for people to come and learn about Mazatlán, its rich history, and its beauty, and it’s a wonderful way for everyone to come together. The union is really important, and I am grateful to the people here and to be here to witness it myself,” Joseph Minafra, Lead for Innovation and Technical Partnerships, said in an interview. He was the main NASA guy in yellow that was dancing with his team in the lead-up to the eclipse.

In addition, many videos were posted of people approaching them, listening to the explanations, and taking the all-important protective glasses.

People even went up to them and gave them presents, including illustrations.

But most people were just obsessed with Minafra and the NASA team dancing on the streets of Mazatlán. 

NASA’s Solar Exploration Research Virtual Institute worked alongside the Agencia Espacial Mexicana and the Mazatlán Astronomical Society.