The Poetry of Space 

Aubrey Roemmich, Section Editor

Space has been the subject of human fascination for centuries. From mapping consultations, to guiding stars, and first steps on the moon, it seems that human ambition knows no bounds and even the last frontier cannot dampen them. This fascination with space has created new fields in both fact and fiction. Scientists at NASA have dedicated their whole lives to discovering the truth. While science fiction authors have dedicated their lives to fabricating versions of the truth. Space, its realities and concepts, have kept human imagination occupied for our whole history.   

And now NASA has decided to bring that imagination to one of Jupiter’s moons. On Monday, January 30th, it was announced that NASA will be sending a poem to space written by the current Poet Laureate, Ada Limón. Limón was appointed Poet Laureate on July 12th, 2022, by the Librarian of Congress. The Laureate position is the most prestigious position a poet can hold. Their terms usually last two years and their main goal is to promote the reading and writing of poetry in the US. This is done by giving presentations, writing their own work, and working across the nation with other poets and teachers in an attempt to make poetry more accessible to everyone.   

Limón is writing a poem that will be engraved onto the Europa Clipper. The Europa Clipper is a craft that is planned to launch in 2024. Its mission is to gather information about one of Jupiter’s moons named Europa. NASA scientists hope that this information will reveal that Europa has conditions that could sustain life, but this is not a life detection mission. The clipper will have to travel for five and a half years over 1.8 billion miles to finally reach Europa in 2030. Once it has reached the moon, it will make about 50 passes over the surface in order to gather as much information as possible.   

It is said that Limón’s poem will be the start of an international project in which NASA will invite public participation. Limón’s poem and the details of this upcoming project have yet to be released. NASA promises more information coming this spring. But for now, both NASA and Limón have expressed their excitement over this historic event. The universe’s many secrets have been the inspiration for numerous great works of art, now we have the chance to send back just a small part of that art to the universe. 

Aubrey Roemmich is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].