Haiku to Mars

I really wish instead of saying, “inhospitable to life,” instead we’d say, “to life as we currently define it.”

Antoine Cassar

Tuesday, named in most Latin languages after the god Mars (mardi, martes, martedì), an appropriate day for a quick blog post about the red, red planet of the same name.

NASA are currently inviting members of the public to submit messages to planet Mars in haiku form, for a DVD that will be carried aboard the Maven spacecraft, launching towards the end of the year. The deadline for submissions is 1st July; public online voting will then decide which three haiku messages will be burned onto the DVD.

It’s doubtful the selected messages will be read by any Martians, not least because the Maven will remain in orbit around Mars, studying its upper atmosphere. Its mission is to attempt to determine what caused the planet’s water to be lost to space, thus rendering the climate inhospitable to life. Indeed, as Stephanie Renfrow of the MAVEN Education…

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