Add Your Name To NASA's Spacebound Message In A Bottle With A Stellar Poem Inside
A message in a bottle is headed to Jupiter's moon Europa later this year, and anyone can add their name to it. The message contains a poem written by US Poet Laureate Ada Limon titled, "In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa."
The "Message in a Bottle" campaign will include names received before midnight on December 31, 2023. All the names that are submitted before the deadline and the poem will be stenciled onto a microchip that will be placed aboard NASA's Europa Clipper mission. The microchip will then travel approximately 1.8 billion miles as the Europa Clipper begins investigating whether the ocean that is believed to lie beneath Europa's icy outer core could support life.
"'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," remarked 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 Europa Clipper is scheduled to launch sometime in 2024 with the goal of determining if Europa has conditions suitable to support life. Jupiter's moon was chosen because NASA says it has all the ingredients essential for life, which is water, chemistry, and energy.
Scientists believe a salty ocean lies beneath Europa's surface which has more water than Earth's oceans combined. Evidence for water existing beneath the outer core has been collected since the early 1970's, when the first spacecraft to image the surface of Jupiter's moons in detail was the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft. Since then, the Galileo mission was launched in 1989.
One of the most important findings from the Galileo mission was how Jupiter's magnetic field was disrupted in the space around Europa. This implied that a "special type of magnetic field is being created (induced) within Europa by a deep layer of some electrically conducive fluid beneath the surface," according to NASA. Scientists believe the most likely candidate to create this magnetic signature is a global ocean of salty water.
Enter the Europa Clipper, which will seek to confirm the presence of Europa's ocean lurking beneath its icy surface and will be the ship that delivers the message in a bottle. The campaign is similar to other NASA projects that have sent names of tens of millions of people into space along with Artemis I and several Mars spacecraft.
"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."
If you would like to add your name to the "Message in a Bottle" campaign, simply visit NASA's website and provide the needed information. Participants will also be able to download a customizable souvenir, an illustration of your name on a message in a bottle against a rendering of Jupiter and its moon Europa.