Mission Updates | January 30, 2023

A Voice Among the Stars: Poem by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón Will Ride to Europa on NASA Spacecraft

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón is writing an original poem dedicated to NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. The poem will be engraved on the spacecraft, as a way to connect two water worlds - Earth and Europa, a moon of Jupiter believed to contain a vast ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, who is known for work that explores the human connection to the natural world, is crafting a new poem dedicated to NASA’s Europa Clipper mission.

Her poem, to be released in the coming months, will be engraved on the Europa Clipper spacecraft. It will travel 1.8 billion miles on its path to the Jupiter system – and will be part of an upcoming NASA-led program that will invite international public participation.

The spacecraft is set to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in October 2024 and by 2030, it will be in orbit around the gas giant. It will conduct multiple flybys of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, to gather detailed measurements and determine if the moon has conditions suitable for life. Europa is thought to contain a massive internal ocean and is considered one of the most promising habitable environments in our solar system, beyond Earth.

More information – about the new work by Limón and how the public can get involved – will be released this spring. The project is a special collaboration, uniting art and science, by NASA, the U.S. Poet Laureate and the Library of Congress.

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón is standing on the right side of this image, wearing a dark blue suit and looking to the left. A glass wall separates her from the clean room, which is visible on the left side of the image. In the distance, the Europa Clipper is visible as it is being assembled in the cleanroom. It is in a horizontal position with scaffolding surrounding it. Approximately nine engineers are visible near the spacecraft wearing white full-body coveralls.
U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón is seen standing in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s High Bay 1 viewing gallery, overlooking the Europa Clipper spacecraft as it is assembled in the cleanroom. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Meanwhile, Europa Clipper is under construction at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, and the work is broadcast live, 24-7 from JPL’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility. The feed is available here. In addition, here are some other ways to learn more and to participate in the mission: https://europa.nasa.gov/participate/

Limón was appointed 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in 2022. She was born in Sonoma, California, in 1976 and is of Mexican ancestry. She is the author of several poetry collections, including “The Hurting Kind;” “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry; and “Bright Dead Things,” a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award.

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center is the home of the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a position that has existed since 1937, when Archer M. Huntington endowed the Chair of Poetry at the Library. The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón is standing in the center of this image, facing the camera, wearing a dark blue suit. Behind Limón is a long console stretching from both sides of the image with multiple screens. Signs in the background read “Data Controller”, and a sign on the wall behind Limón reads “Charles Elachi Mission Control”. Limón is standing in front of a glass light box that is inlaid into the carpeted floor. Within the box is a metal plaque that reads “Center of the Universe”.
U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón is seen standing in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Space Flight Operations Facility, commonly called “mission control”. The Space Flight Operations Center, a National Historic Landmark, has been operational and staffed every day since 1964. Here engineers send and receive commands for spacecraft in, and beyond, our solar system. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Stay Connected

Follow Europa Clipper’s journey to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa with the mission’s social media accounts.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EuropaClipper

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NASAEuropaClipper

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nasasolarsystem

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