A poem by an American poet will be sent to Jupiter

American poet Ada Limón dedicated a poem In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa to the future Europa Clipper space mission. Its text will be engraved on board the spacecraft, which will fly to explore the moons of Jupiter.

The poet Ada Limón in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Source: Gregory M. Waigand/NASA via AP

Poem in honor of Europa Clipper

American poet Ada Limón on Thursday, June 1, read her poem In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa at the Library of Congress. It is dedicated to the future Europa Clipper mission, which NASA is preparing to launch to explore the icy moons of Jupiter.

47-year-old Ada Limón is the author of the collections “Bright Dead Things” and “The Carrying”. For the last two years, she has been a laureate of the Library of Congress Prize; and it was entrusted to her to write a poem that would be engraved on the surface of the spacecraft. 

Ada Limón said that despite her experience, she was worried a lot about the fact that she had this honor. However, due to the fact that the work must have an official character, she could not write it in any way. And only the advice from her husband “to write as for herself” helped her to remember her childhood, when she looked into the grass and saw the whole world there, and this helped her to understand how to make space topics understandable for earthly people.

“Eventually, what made the poem come together was realizing that in pointing toward other planets, stars and moons, we are also recognizing the enormous gift that is our planet Earth. To point outward is also to point inward,” the poetess said.

“Message in a Bottle”

The Europa Clipper mission has as its main goal the exploration of Europa, where, according to scientists, an ocean of liquid water hides under the icy surface. It is expected to launch in October 2024 and its journey to Jupiter will take several years. There, the NASA spacecraft will keep company with the European JUICE probe; it was launched into space this spring.

NASA management wants as many people as possible to feel their involvement in this event, so they organized a Message In a Bottle campaign, within which everyone could write a short text that would then fly to Jupiter. 

A poem of five stanzas is hardly short, but Ada Limón has had a special role in this program. She was, in a way, its face and the main incentive for people to pay attention to this program and write something.

According to phys.org

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