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NASA Invites Public to Sign Poem That Will Fly Aboard Europa Clipper

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The “Message in a Bottle” campaign offers everyone the opportunity to have their name stenciled onto a microchip bearing U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa.” The chip will ride aboard NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft to Jupiter and its moon Europa.
Credits: NASA

Members of the public are invited to add their names to an original poem dedicated to NASA’s Europa Clipper mission before the spacecraft begins its journey to Jupiter’s moon Europa in October 2024. The poem and the names will be like a message in a bottle, traveling billions of miles as the mission investigates whether the ocean thought to lie beneath Europa’s icy crust could support life.

As part of the “Message in a Bottle” campaign, names received before 11:59 p.m. EST, Dec. 31, 2023, will be stenciled onto a microchip, along with the poem, written by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón and titled “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa.”

To sign, read the poem, and hear Limón recite the poem in an animated video, go to:

https://go.nasa.gov/MessageInABottle

The site also enables participants to create and download a customizable souvenir – an illustration of your name on a message in a bottle against a rendering of Europa and Jupiter – to commemorate the experience. Participants are encouraged to share their enthusiasm on social media using the hashtag #SendYourName.

“‘Message in a Bottle’ is the perfect convergence of science, art, and technology, and we are excited to share with the world the opportunity to be a part of Europa Clipper’s journey,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “I just love the thought that our names will be traveling across our solar system aboard the radiation-tolerant spacecraft that seeks to unlock the secrets of Jupiter’s frozen moon.” 

The “Message in a Bottle” campaign is similar to other NASA projects that have enabled tens of millions of people to send their names to ride along with Artemis I and several Mars spacecraft. It draws from the agency’s long tradition of shipping inspirational messages on spacecraft that have explored our solar system and beyond. In the vein of NASA’s Voyagers’ Golden Record, which sent a time capsule of sounds and images to communicate the diversity of life and culture on Earth, the program aims to spark the imagination of people around the world.

“Inspiration is what fueled the people who developed this flagship mission and who hand-crafted the largest spacecraft NASA has sent to explore the solar system. It’s what drives humanity to ask the big questions that this mission will contribute to,” said Laurie Leshin, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, which leads the development of Europa Clipper. “Inspiration is riding along with every single name that will be making the journey to Europa.”

Europa Clipper currently is being assembled, on camera, at JPL. Set to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the spacecraft will travel 1.8 billion miles (2.6 billion kilometers) to reach the Jupiter system, where it will arrive in 2030. As it orbits Jupiter and flie s by Europa about 50 times, it will log another half-billion miles (800,000 kilometers) while a suite of science instruments gathers data on the subsurface ocean, the ice crust, and the moon’s atmosphere.

In January, Limón visited JPL to see the spacecraft and learn more about the mission. She was appointed 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in 2022 and reappointed for a second, two-year term in April 2023. Limón was born in Sonoma, California, and is of Mexican ancestry. She is the author of several poetry collections, including “The Hurting Kind” and “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center is the home of the nation’s official poet, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry – a position that has existed since 1937. The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

More About the Mission

Europa Clipper’s main science goal is to determine whether there are places below the surface of Europa that could support life. The mission’s three main science objectives are to understand the nature of the ice shell and the ocean beneath it, along with the moon’s composition and geology. The mission’s detailed exploration of Europa will help scientists better understand the astrobiological potential for habitable worlds beyond our planet.

Managed by Caltech in Pasadena, California, JPL leads the development of the Europa Clipper mission in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. APL designed the main spacecraft body in collaboration with JPL and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, executes program management of the Europa Clipper mission.

More information about Europa can be found here:

https://www.nasa.gov/europa

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The Return of the Giant Pandas: A Symbol of Renewed Diplomacy Between China and the United States

China’s plan to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo signifies a renewed era of wildlife diplomacy and friendship with the United States.

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photo of panda and cub playing
Photo by Diana Silaraja on Pexels.com

In a gesture reflecting the enduring bond between China and the United States, the China Wildlife Conservation Association has announced plans to send a new pair of giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo. This move marks a significant renewal of friendship after the recall of iconic bears on loan to U.S. zoos amid strained relations between the two nations.

The recent signing of cooperation agreements with zoos in San Diego and Madrid, along with ongoing discussions with zoos in Washington, D.C., and Vienna, underscores a fresh round of collaboration on panda conservation. This initiative not only highlights the importance of protecting these beloved creatures but also serves as a symbol of unity and shared commitment to wildlife preservation.

San Diego Zoo officials have expressed great anticipation for the arrival of the two pandas, a male and a female, expected to reach the zoo by the end of summer. Megan Owen, Vice President of Wildlife Conservation Science at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, shared her excitement, stating, “They’ve expressed a tremendous amount of enthusiasm to re-initiate panda cooperation starting with the San Diego Zoo.”

As these gentle giants prepare to make their return to the San Diego Zoo, the significance of this gesture extends beyond conservation efforts. It serves as a testament to the power of wildlife diplomacy in fostering understanding and goodwill between nations, transcending political differences to focus on shared values and a common goal of protecting our planet’s biodiversity.

The upcoming arrival of the giant pandas symbolizes a renewed era of collaboration, friendship, and hope for a future where conservation efforts transcend borders and unite us in our shared responsibility to safeguard the natural world.

Source: Associated Press

https://apnews.com/article/pandas-san-diego-zoo-california-china-6976587ee9992c861d9a56db0cb1ff89?user_email=f874bd3cdce5fc878ed0ce94463be80ee9571a2ee483e46a76da589edb9944a0&utm_medium=APNews_Alerts&utm_source=Sailthru_AP&utm_campaign=NewsAlerts_0222_US_Panda&utm_term=AP%20News%20Alerts

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Unlocking the Next Frontier: Odysseus Lunar Lander’s Historic Mission

“Odysseus lunar lander aims to make history with first U.S. spacecraft touchdown on moon in 50 years. A testament to human ambition and innovation.”

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In the vast expanse of space, where dreams of exploration meet the harsh realities of technology and finance, Thursday marks a potential landmark moment in the annals of space exploration. The Odysseus lunar lander, a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, stands on the precipice of making history as it aims to achieve what no U.S.-made spacecraft has done in five decades: a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.

Intuitive Machines-1 Lunar Landing (Official NASA Broadcast)

After a breathtaking lift-off from Florida, Odysseus embarked on its journey towards the moon, capturing awe-inspiring images of our planet Earth along the way. Now, as it hurtles closer to its destination, the anticipation mounts for what could be the most perilous test yet – a soft landing on the moon’s surface.

Intuitive Machines, the pioneering force behind Odysseus, dares to tread where no private company has ventured before. If successful, this endeavor would mark the resurgence of American-made spacecraft landing on the moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

However, the road to lunar exploration is fraught with challenges, both technical and financial. While the Apollo program once commanded a budget exceeding 4% of all U.S. government spending, today’s NASA operates on a fraction of that, a mere 0.4%. To stretch resources further, NASA has turned to outsourcing robotic lunar landings to commercial entities like Intuitive Machines, aiming to achieve ambitious goals like the Artemis program’s lunar return with reduced costs.

But cost isn’t the only hurdle. The technical feat of landing a spacecraft precisely on a celestial body a quarter of a million miles away is akin to hitting a golf ball from New York to Los Angeles and landing it in a specific hole – a daunting task even with today’s advanced technology. Compounding the challenge is the time delay of roughly three seconds for signals to travel between Earth and the moon, leaving little room for error during critical maneuvers.

Moreover, the legacy of Apollo-era expertise has waned over the decades, leaving a gap that new technology alone cannot bridge. As Dr. Scott Pace of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute aptly notes, “These are people doing it for the first time, and there’s no substitute for that experience.”

Yet, amidst these challenges, there’s an undeniable sense of optimism and determination. As Lisa Altemus of Intuitive Machines emphasizes, success in lunar exploration requires collective resilience, collaboration, and a willingness to learn from failures. It heralds not just a scientific achievement but the dawn of a new era – an emerging lunar economy where the moon’s resources could unlock boundless opportunities for humanity.

If Odysseus achieves its mission, it will not only mark the first U.S. spacecraft landing on the moon in half a century but also pave the way for future lunar endeavors, including the exploration of the moon’s south pole, a region rich in potential resources like ice and water.

As we stand on the brink of this historic moment, let us marvel at the audacity of human ambition, the tenacity of scientific endeavor, and the boundless possibilities that lie beyond Earth’s confines. The journey to the moon may be fraught with challenges, but with each step, we inch closer to unlocking the mysteries of our celestial neighbor and forging a new chapter in the saga of space exploration.

https://www.azfamily.com/app/2024/02/22/us-company-attempts-first-moon-landing-thursday-since-1972/

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NASA Astronaut Available for Interviews Prior to Space Station Mission

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NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson poses for a portrait at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Credits: NASA

NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson is available in limited opportunities to discuss her mission beginning at 8 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26. The interviews will take place ahead of Dyson launching to the International Space Station in March.

The virtual interviews will stream live on NASA+, NASA Television, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

Interested media must submit a request to speak with Dyson no later than 12 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston newsroom at 281-483-5111 or jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov.

Dyson is scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft Thursday, March 21, and will spend approximately six months aboard the space station. She will travel to the station with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya of Belarus, both of whom will spend approximately 12 days aboard the orbital complex.

During her expedition, Dyson will conduct scientific investigations and technology demonstrations that help prepare humans for future space missions and benefit people on Earth. Among some of the hundreds of experiments ongoing during her mission, Dyson will continue to study how fire spreads and behaves in space with the Combustion Integrated Rack, as well as contribute to the long-running Crew Earth Observations study by photographing Earth to better understand how our planet is changing over time.

After completing her expedition, Dyson will return to Earth this fall with Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub on the Soyuz MS-25 spacecraft.

Learn more about International Space Station research and operations at:

https://www.nasa.gov/station

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