Ground Control to Major Tom – Haiku Update

17 Nov

So while I’m hanging out in my igloo, staring at my computer screen under the guise of writing a novel during NaNoWriMo, I get an email about the “Haiku on Mars” submission I wrote about on my blog in May– Ground Control:

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 1.52.17 PM

The Red Planet

Dear Going to Mars Participant, (gotta love those personalized notes from editors)

Thank you again for sharing a bit of yourselves in anticipation of MAVEN’s upcoming launch to Mars! As you can see in the attached images:

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Maven gets manicured

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Close-up of the DVD

(photo credits Kennedy Space Center)—your art, haiku, and names submissions have been saved to the special DVD and attached to the MAVEN spacecraft in preparation for launch!

MAVEN’s launch window opens on Monday, November 18, 2013, at 1:28 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). We hope you’ll join us virtually! On Monday, Nov. 18, NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 11 a.m. EST and conclude after the MAVEN spacecraft has separated from the Atlas V, which occurs about 52 minutes after launch. Live launch coverage will be carried on all NASA Television channels. For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information, and streaming video, visit: Additional information can also be found at


Best wishes,
The Going to Mars campaign team

When they first posted the “contest,” they were going to choose three winners. The way this article is written, it sounds like they decided to include everyone’s submissions. Perhaps their budget ran short, and they couldn’t afford to pay the judges. 😮

So if you submitted an entry, you, too, can watch it disappear into space as early as this Monday, November 18. Keep your eyes peeled. And don’t worry about the DVD surviving launch and the 20-month trip. Maven’s internal organs will be well insulated by an external shell that will look quite a bit more rocket-like by launch time.

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Eyes to the skies

Now back to staring at my computer screen….


17 Responses to “Ground Control to Major Tom – Haiku Update”

  1. FictionFan November 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    Gosh! (Sadly) I’m incredibly jealous! I remember vividly spending an hour trying deaperately to ‘do’ a Haiku and failing miserably. Oh well, Major Jilanne, I guess I’ll just have to be Ground Control. Enjoy your trip…and put your helmet on… 😀

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 18, 2013 at 9:40 am #

      I am no poet, no “real” haiku writer. Just a dabbler who enjoys words and how they’re laid out on the page. I recall some claim that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything, be it gymnastics, economics, or poetry (in your case, haiku). You’ve only got 9,999 hours to go. Put your helmet on. 😀

      • FictionFan November 18, 2013 at 11:08 am #

        I just had a vision of me doing 10,000 hours worth of gymnastics…haikus seem so much easier now, somehow! You were on the news earlier, by the way…I was able to say ‘I know someone who’s going on that mission.’ A surreal but enjoyable experience…

  2. Carrie Rubin November 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    That’s pretty cool! Just think, someday an alien might read your Haiku. 😉

  3. 4amWriter November 18, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    That is wild. I love the idea of poetry in outer space. 🙂

    • artourway November 18, 2013 at 9:06 am #

      Poetry loves space~

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 18, 2013 at 9:31 am #

      I can’t help picturing an alien form that has no eyes to see, no ears to hear, at least in the way we see and hear. And just what will they do with this doughnut of polycarbonate plastic. Perhaps eat it? Gives new meaning to the words “ingesting poetry.”

      And so I feel compelled to refer you to Mark Strand’s poem “Eating Poetry.” The first lines:

      “Ink runs from the corner of my mouth.
      There is no happiness like mine.
      I have been eating poetry.”

      The full poem can be found at:

      • artourway November 18, 2013 at 9:45 am #

        mmm hungry now ;D Thanks Jilanne, sounds like you are having a blast there!

  4. Call of the Siren November 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Now I wish I had contributed something since it sounds like a sure thing! That’s fine. I’ll keep my haikus ready for the next mission to Neptune or little Pluto. Thanks for the update Jil.

  5. Letizia November 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    I love the idea that your words will be forever above us. What fun!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann November 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      Yes, floating through the vacuum, not unlike Major Tom. 😀

  6. Naomi Baltuck November 24, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    So cool!

  7. Laurel Leigh December 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Now that is what I call shelf life. Your poetry will be immortalized in the heavens. It’s fitting!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann December 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Who knows, it may burn up like the ISON comet and then suddenly reappear–akin to having an afterlife. Strange stuff.

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