NASA Invites Public to Send Messages to Mars

WASHINGTON - NASA is inviting members of the public to submit their names and a personal message online for a DVD to be carried aboard a spacecraft that will study the Martian upper atmosphere. 

The DVD will be in NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, which is scheduled for launch in November. The DVD is part of the mission's Going to Mars Campaign coordinated at the University of Colorado at Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU/LASP). 

The DVD will carry every name submitted. The public also is encouraged to submit a message in the form of a three-line poem, or haiku. However, only three haikus will be selected. The deadline for all submissions is July 1. An online public vote to determine the top three messages to be placed on the DVD will begin July 15. 

"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. 

Participants who submit their names to the Going to Mars campaign will be able to print a certificate of appreciation to document their involvement with the MAVEN mission. 

"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 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. 

"This mission will continue NASA's rich history of inspiring and engaging the public in spaceflight in ongoing Mars exploration," said David Mitchell, MAVEN project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. 

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