|In an awe-inspiring melding of science and art, NASA has embarked on a poetic journey to one of Jupiter’s icy moons, Europa. This celestial endeavor involves sending to the outer realms of our solar system a poem by none other than Ada Limón, the USA’s poet laureate. Recently, the space agency unveiled the poem that will journey beyond our terrestrial boundaries, a profound testament to human creativity and exploration.
Europa, one of Jupiter’s largest moons, has long piqued the curiosity of scientists due to its subsurface ocean, which may potentially harbor extraterrestrial life. As part of the Europa Clipper mission, NASA decided to reach out to the universe not just with data and science but also with the eloquence of poetry. The poem, “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa,” is an “evolution” of NASA’s Golden Record, says Robert Pappalardo. Limón’s words will be engraved on the side of the spacecraft, a standout testament to the arts and the human desire to explore the unknown.
By sending a poem alongside the scientific instruments and spacecraft, NASA reminds us that exploration goes beyond the quest for knowledge: it’s a celebration of human curiosity and creativity. Our journey to Europa, guided by both science and art, signifies a profound understanding of our place in the universe and our yearning to explore it, one word at a time.
Read an excerpt from Ada Limón’s poem below:
And it is not darkness that unites us,
not the cold distance of space, but
the offering of water, each drop of rain,
each rivulet, each pulse, each vein.
O second moon, we, too, are made
of water, of vast and beckoning seas.
We, too, are made of wonders, of great
and ordinary loves, of small invisible worlds,
of a need to call out through the dark.