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Haiku-loaded DVD to be carried on NASA's next mission to Mars

DVD will be sent where mankind has not (yet) gone when NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, scheduled to launch in November, will carry over 1,100 personal three-line poems, or haiku.

The selected entries will be included on a DVD attached to the spacecraft that also includes selected artwork from a student contest and tens of thousands of names submitted by the public by 10 September.

The contest received over 12,500 entries worldwide as part of the mission's Going to Mars campaign organised by the University of Colorado at Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. British author Benedict Smith won first place with this gem:

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

Haiku is a Japanese poetry form consisting of three lines, with the first and last lines having five syllables each and the middle line having seven.

"The contest resonated with people in ways that I never imagined," said Stephanie Renfrow, MAVEN Education and Public Outreach leader and the Going to Mars campaign leader. "Both new and accomplished poets wrote poetry to reflect their views of Earth and Mars, to share their feelings about space exploration, to pay tribute to loved ones who have passed on and to make us laugh with their words."

MAVEN will be the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. A DVD player won't be part of the payload, though.

Story filed 11.08.13

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