Do you want to go to Mars?

Well here’s your chance to get connected for a double barreled dose of Red Planet adventure courtesy of MAVEN – NASA’s next ‘Mission to Mars’ which is due to liftoff this November from the Florida Space Coast.

For a limited time only, NASA is offering the general public two cool ways to get involved and ‘Go to Mars’ aboard a DVD flying on the solar winged MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiter.

You can send your name and a short poetic message to Mars via the ‘Going to Mars’ campaign being managed by the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP).

“Anybody on planet Earth is welcome to participate!” says NASA.

“The Going to Mars campaign offers people worldwide a way to make a personal connection to space, space exploration, and science in general, and share in our excitement about the MAVEN mission,” said Stephanie Renfrow, lead for the MAVEN Education and Public Outreach program at CU/LASP.

Signing up to send your name is easy. Simply click on the MAVEN mission website – here.

The MAVEN missions ‘Going to Mars’ campaign invites submissions from the public; artwork, messages, and names will be included on a special DVD. The DVD will be adhered to the MAVEN spacecraft and launched into orbit around Mars. (Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Everyone who submits their name will be included on a DVD that will be attached to the winged orbiter. And you can print out a beautiful certificate of participation emblazoned with your name!

Over 1 million folks signed up to send their names to Mars with NASA’s Curiosity rover. So they are all riding along as Curiosity continues making ground breaking science discoveries and already found habitats that could support potential Martian microbes.

Writing the haiku poem will require thought, inspiration and creativity and involves a public contest – because only 3 poems will be selected and sent to Mars. The public will vote for the three winning entries.

Haiku’s are three line poems. The rules state that “the first and last lines must have exactly five syllables each and the middle line must have exactly seven syllables. All messages must be original and not plagiarized in any way.”

The complete contest rules are found at the mission website – here:

This is a simple way for kids and adults alike to participate in humanity’s exploration of the Red Planet. And it’s also a great STEM activity for educators and school kids of all ages before this year’s school season comes to a close.

“This new campaign is a great opportunity to reach the next generation of explorers and excite them about science, technology, engineering and math,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator from CU/LASP. “I look forward to sharing our science with the worldwide community as MAVEN begins to piece together what happened to the Red Planet’s atmosphere.”

MAVEN is slated to blast off atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Florida on Nov. 18, 2013. It will join NASA’s armada of four robotic spacecraft when it arrives at Mars during 2014.

MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. The spacecraft will investigate how the loss of Mars’ atmosphere to space determined the history of water on the surface.

But don’t dawdle- the deadline for submissions is July 1.

So, sign up to ‘Go to Mars’ – and do it NOW!

Juice up your inner poet and post your ‘Haiku’ here – if you dare

Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC,, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Recent Posts

Juice is Fully Deployed. It’s Now in its Final Form, Ready to Meet Jupiter’s Moons in 2031

Launched on April 14, 2023, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice;…

2 days ago

China’s Rover Found Evidence of an Ancient Ocean on Mars

In a recent study published in National Science Review, a team of researchers led by…

3 days ago

When Black Holes Merge, They'll Ring Like a Bell

How a merged black hole rings as it settles into a stable form holds clues…

3 days ago

ESA Has a Playground for Mars Rovers to Learn how to Explore the Red Planet

NASA makes successful rover missions seem mundane. Spirit and Opportunity were wildly successful, and Curiosity…

3 days ago

Amazing Views From ESA’s New MeteoSat Weather Satellite

The European Space Agency’s latest third generation Meteosat-I 1 weather satellite shows its stuff, with…

3 days ago

Chandra and JWST Join Forces in a Stunning Series of Images

NASA scientists have combined data from the James Webb and Chandra observatories to create stunning…

4 days ago