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Posted on January 9th, 2024

Free For All – Message in a Bottle to Europa

Since its invention people have been sending bottles holding slips of paper containing heartfelt notes, wishes, and more across Earth’s oceans. What if you could do the same in space? Now you can, with NASA’s Message In A Bottle Campaign. The program invites you to sign your name to a poetry piece handwritten by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, which will then be engraved on the Robotic Europa Clipper spacecraft. The poem will be on the inward-facing side of the tantalum metal plate on the vault protecting the spacecraft’s sensitive electronics.

Watch how technicians stencil names onto microchips using an electron beam. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

When the names of the program’s participants have been collected, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab technicians will use an electron beam to stencil the names onto microchips. The poem is titled “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa.” Each line of text will be 1/1000th the width of a human hair—that’s 75 nanometers! The poem and names will leave Earth and travel 1.8 billion miles on Europa Clipper’s Voyage to the Jupiter system. The spacecraft is planned to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in October 2024 and make its way to Jupiter’s orbit by 2030. Europa Clipper will perform flybys, collecting data from Jupiter’s Moon Europa to check the icy surface’s suitability for life. Become a part of history and send your name into space with NASA’s Message in A Bottle Campaign!

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163

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