Europa Clipper Will Send Your Name To This Jovian Moon7th Jun 2023
In 2024, NASA’s Europa Clipper will launch with the aim of investigating Jupiter’s moon Europa, an icy world which we already know could support life. NASA has now provided a unique opportunity for anyone to sign their name on a letter designed to provide a message from mankind.
Europa has an icy crust, with mystery regarding what is beneath. There is strong evidence that an ocean of liquid water exists, and that it possibly even supports life. The Europa Clipper will be sent into an orbit around the planet of Jupiter and perform close flybys of Europa, providing us with more information about its potential to harbour life.
Now, you have the chance to get your name engraved on NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. It is free, with no requirement to be a citizen of a certain country either, so anyone around the world can add their name. In fact, a participation map shows where participants come from.
In Praise of Mystery: A Poem For Europa
Those who sign up will be signing their names to a poem by the U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, with themes including the water that connects both Earth and Europa, and a yearning for exploration, plus the mysteries held in store. Input from NASA, Limón, and the Library of Congress have helped to make it possible to add your support.
The poem will sit inside the metal plate that seals in the electronics, protecting them from Jupiter’s radiation belts. The engraving will be in the poet’s handwriting.
“When NASA contacted me and asked me if I would write an original poem, I immediately got really excited and said yes. And then we hung up the call and I thought, ‘How am I going to do that?'” Limón explained. She found inspiration in the journey and the reflection caused by space exploration. “The outreaching that the poem was doing was just as important as pointing back to the beauty and power and urgency of our own planet.”
How to get your name on the Europe Clipper
Signing your name to the poem is just one way that you can get involved and pay tribute, and NASA encourages the mission to be used as a learning opportunity, too. More information can be found on the specific Message in a Bottle part of their website.