NASA invites public to submit names and poems to Mars

Your haiku and name can orbit Mars! Photo: MAVEN spacecraft

WASHINGTON, DC, May 2, 2013 – NASA issued a press release yesterday inviting members of the public to submit names and a haiku online to be carried aboard a spacecraft that will study Mars’ upper atmosphere.  So if you can’t go to Mars yourself, your name certainly can.

The names and poems will be on a DVD carried on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, scheduled to launch in November.   The mission will be coordinated by the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP), and will study the how the loss of atmosphere determined the history of water on the surface of the planet.

SEE RELATED: Mars One seeks colonists to live—and die—on the Red Planet

While all names submitted will be included in the DVD with subtitles, only three haikus will be selected.  A haiku is a three-line poem with about 17 syllables; five syllables for the first and last lines and seven syllables for the second.  

The deadline for submitting haikus is July 1, and NASA will hold a public online vote to pick the winners beginning July 15.  The three haikus that will be aboard MAVEN will be announced August 8. 

“This new campaign is a great opportunity to reach the next generation of explorers and excite them about science, technology, engineering and math,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator from CU/LASP in a NASA release. “I look forward to sharing our science with the worldwide community as MAVEN begins to piece together what happened to the Red Planet’s atmosphere.”

People who submit their names online will receive a printable “certificate of participation” to memorialize their involvement.

SEE RELATED: Comet ISON: Will it be “the Comet of the Century?”

MAVEN is scheduled to launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral after November 18, and will go into Martian orbit in 2014. The reported cost of the mission is $670 million.

“This mission will continue NASA’s rich history of inspiring and engaging the public in spaceflight in ongoing Mars exploration,” said David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

The mission is managed by Goddard, while CU/LASP will provide leadership in education and outreach, as well as provide science operations and instruments.  MAVEN was built by Lockheed Martin, which will be responsible for mission operations.   

NASA’s last “send- a- name” opportunity collected over 1.2 million names which were etched into two microchips the size of a dime and attached to the Mars Curiosity rover’s deck.  Curiosity is still on its two-year mission on the surface of the planet collecting samples and surveying the landscape.

You can submit your name and/or haiku at

Mars awaits your ‘kus

So write a really good one

Only three will go


READ MORE: A World in Our Backyard by Laura Sesana

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

More from A World in our Backyard
blog comments powered by Disqus
Laura Sesana

Laura Sesana is a writer and DC, Maryland attorney, joining the Communities in 2012.  She is the author of Colombia: Natural Parks, and has also written several articles on literary criticism.  She writes about food, health, nutrition, women’s legal issues, and the environment.  

In addition to writing for the Communities, Laura also works as an attorney and legal content writer.


Contact Laura Sesana


Please enable pop-ups to use this feature, don't worry you can always turn them off later.

Question of the Day
Photo Galleries
Popular Threads
Powered by Disqus