Mars Haikus: MAVEN Spacecraft To Take Poems To Red Planet

Calling all space poets!

NASA is giving the public an opportunity to send a message to Mars aboard the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft (MAVEN).

The spacecraft, which is slated to launch this November, will bring along with it a DVD containing three haikus, along with the name of their authors as part of the Going To Mars project to publicize the spacecraft's mission.

"The Going to Mars campaign offers people worldwide a way to make a personal connection to space, space exploration and science in general, and share in our excitement about the MAVEN mission," Stephanie Renfrow, lead for the MAVEN Education and Public Outreach program at University of Colorado, Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, told NPR.

Along with ferrying the public's haikus to the Red Planet, the spacecraft is being sent to investigate what caused the loss of Mars' atmosphere and water. The probe will gather data about about the evolution of Mars' climate to examine why the planet lost 99% of its atmosphere over millions of years.

The submission deadline for poetry is July 1, and the public will be able to vote for their favorites starting July 15. Just three haikus will be selected to join MAVEN on its Martian journey. The contest is open to "anyone on planet Earth" over 18. The poem must be three lines: five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five again in the third.

We even tried our hand at one:

We'd love to see Mars
Meet all the little green men
Hope they are friendly...

Submit a haiku of your own to the slideshow below!



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