NASA Is Giving You The Opportunity To Send A Message To Mars... As A Haiku

We've sent more than a few rovers to Mars over the decades and we've yet to encounter intelligent life. But on the off chance something is there, what better way to communicate our peaceful intentions than with a haiku? Well, NASA not only wants you to submit one for consideration, but get the public to vote for the top three.

It's all part of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission, set to launch later this year, most likely between November 18 - December 8. If your poem is chosen, it'll be written to a DVD, along with your name and packed onto MAVEN, ready for a trip to solar system's most popular red planet.

To get involved, you'll need to visit the University of Colorado's website and register an account. You must be 18 or over to submit an entry, with the site recommending parents get involved for anyone younger.

As you might have guessed, MAVEN's sole purpose isn't to send tracts of literary genius into the black beyond -- the plan is for it to spend one year analysing the upper atmosphere of Mars, after which it'll continue to serve the needs of NASA and the wider scientific community in whatever capacity it can.

The trip to Mars should take about ten months, with an additional five weeks required for the satellite to position itself in the correct orbit.

[University of Colorado -- Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, via NPR]

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS