For its trip to Mars,
NASA wants haikus like this,
Why? Because it's cool.
That's pretty much the gist of this whole story, actually. Maybe I should start composing all stories in the form of a haiku to save us all time.
It's no joke, though, that NASA really is collecting submissions of three-line poems from the public to send into space aboard the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, which will launch later this year for a mission to study the Red Planet's atmosphere.
NASA and the University of Colorado at Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics are coordinating the "Going to Mars" campaign to collect names and haiku from any members of the public to be added to a DVD that will ride aboard MAVEN.
All the names of entrants will be included on the DVD, but only three haikus will be chosen to make the trip. Why there's only room for three poems, or why any martians floating around in the planet's upper atmosphere are more likely to have access to a DVD player than a USB port or SD card reader remain mysteries, but it's a fun campaign nonetheless.
Anyone can register on the Going to Mars Web site and submit his or her name and haiku to be included, but if you're under 18, you're technically supposed to have a parent or teacher go through the registration and submission process for you.
MAVEN is the first craft dedicated to exploring Mars' upper atmosphere in the hopes of learning more about the history of water on the surface of the planet. I'm also hopeful it's undertaking a few secret secondary missions to scout out future locations for martian condos, and to film future flicks in the Chronicles of Riddick series.
If you've got any haikus you think martians would dig, please try them out on us here first, in the comments below. I'll send my three favorites that don't make it onto MAVEN on a USB stick to the Mars candy company of McLean, Va.