Message to Mars contest

People from all over the world submitted some 12,530 valid entries between May 1 and July 1, 2013. Public vote determined the top five winners—and a grand total of 39,100 votes were logged on the entries!

As a special recognition of the unique entries and the overwhelming response to the contest, all haiku that received 2 votes or more were saved to the DVD that accompanied MAVEN on its journey to and around the Red Planet.

Top five by public vote

The following poems received 1,000 votes or more in our public voting contest!

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

Benedict Smith
United Kingdom

Thirty-six million
miles of whispering welcome.
Mars, you called us home.

Vanna Bonta

Stars in the blue sky
cheerfully observe the Earth
while we long for them

Luisa Santoro

distant red planet
the dreams of earth beings flow
we will someday roam

Greg Pruett
Idaho, USA

Mars, your secret is
unknown for humanity
we want to know you.

Fanni Redenczki

Special recognition

The following poems are MAVEN team selections.

MAVEN haiku

I am the petrel
Exploring ancient shorelines,
Of long-dry oceans.

Earl Frederick
Virginia, USA

MAVEN tastes the air
too thin to hold oceans’ broth
wafted on Sol’s winds.

James Ph. Kotsybar
California, USA

My body can’t walk
My mouth can’t make words but I
Soar to Mars today.

Allison Swets
Michigan, USA

Haiku for Mars

Your crimson bosom,
Valles Marineris depths.
Will we find your tears?

William Houston
North Carolina, USA

Rusted, dusty, fruit.
Pitted, marred, mysterious.
Milky Way’s Apple

Maria Masington
Delaware, USA

Reflections on Earth

Mars, copper penny
Dropped in the dark bank of night
Saved for Earth’s future

J. David Liss
New Jersey, USA

Amidst sand and stars
We scan a lifeless planet
To escape its fate


Haiku about haiku

Maven’s engineers
write in binary while we
count some syllables.

Craig Houghton
Connecticut, USA

The migrant Rover
Unfolds a slip of haiku
And dabs its lens cap

Helen Jeffery
Maryland, USA


Mars, oh! Do forgive.
We never meant to obstruct
Your view of Venus.

Chuck Abolt
Texas, USA

a persistent wind
keeps taking your breath away…
but look at those cheeks!

Edward Foreman
Illinois, USA

Writing poems, Mars,
I’m a little bit rusty
But then so are you

Clay Graham
California, USA

Educator recognition

The MAVEN Message to Mars contest offers special recognition to select submissions from our participating educators.

View educator recognition selections

RIP: The winner that could have been

On May 23, 2013, the Washington Post acknowledged our haiku contest and ran their own contest in response (The Style Invitational Week 1023). The section’s editor—the Empress—lamented that it was unlikely that any of the haiku submitted to the their contest would be winners in our contest. Alas, none of The Style’s winning entries were submitted to our contest!

Dear Empress: In vain
we searched for shared haiku; yours
must be from Venus.