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MAVEN haiku selected for travel to Mars

August 8, 2013
The MAVEN mission, which launches November 18, 2013, will carry with it the winning art and haiku entries from the Going to Mars campaign. The DVD containing the winning submissions will also bear the names of tens of thousands of people who enter their names by September 10. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin/LASP)

The MAVEN mission, which launches in November, 2013, will carry with it the selected art and haiku entries from the Going to Mars campaign. The DVD containing the winning submissions will also bear the names of tens of thousands of people who enter their names by September 10. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin/LASP)

Haiku recognized in the LASP-led MAVEN Message-to-Mars contest were announced today on the Going to Mars campaign website. Haiku authors from around the world—including Palestine, India, Australia, and Europe—entered the contest. The top five winners—all those whose haiku received 1,000 votes or more—include popular British blogger Benedict Smith and well-known American poet Vanna Bonta. Other entries receiving special recognition include MAVEN team selections in categories ranging from haiku specifically about MAVEN to humorous haiku.

The MAVEN Education & Outreach team also gives special recognition to teachers who conducted class activities around MAVEN and submitted their students’ entries into the contest. Teacher Dillon Bohlender of Denver, Colorado, entered 68 haiku from his four 8th-grade science classes. He said that before putting pen to paper, “The students spent two days researching and building background knowledge of Mars.” Bohlender helped select one winning haiku for each of his participating classes; 8th-grader Janis* wrote one of the winning selections:

Phobos and Deimos
Moons orbiting around mars
Snared by gravity

The winning haiku entries were among more than 12,500 valid entries submitted from children and adults around the world between May 1, 2013, and July 1, 2013. The total number of votes received across all of the entries was over 39,000, with 2,031 received by Smith’s first place entry:

It’s funny, they named
Mars after the God of War
Have a look at Earth

All of the winners and recipients of special recognition, plus haiku that received more than two votes—a total of just over 1,100—will be included on a DVD that will be attached to the MAVEN spacecraft for the journey to Mars. The launch window for MAVEN is slated to open on November 18, 2013.

Stephanie Renfrow, MAVEN Education & Public Outreach lead and Going to Mars campaign lead, said, “The contest has resonated with people in ways that I never imagined! Both new and accomplished poets wrote poetry to reflect their views of Earth and Mars, their feelings about space exploration, their loss of loved ones who have passed on, and their sense of humor.”

The MAVEN Going to Mars campaign began in spring 2013 to encourage the public to get aboard the mission. The campaign is still accepting names, through a new log-in-free interface, until September 10. Name submissions will be included aboard the DVD along with the winning haiku and winning artwork from the earlier Student Artwork Contest.

To read the haiku and to submit your name to fly to Mars, please visit http://lasp.colorado.edu/maven/goingtomars.

*Out of concern for their privacy, we only use first names of minors.