Over 900,000 Names Collected for the Europa Clipper Spacecraft
Since June 1, 2023, NASA has been gathering names from around the world to send up into space on the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The campaign has been incredibly successful, with over 900,000 names collected so far.
The Mission to Explore Jupiter’s Moon, Europa
The Europa Clipper spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in October 2024. Its mission is to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa, which is known as an “ocean world that may support life.” The spacecraft will embark on a 1.8 billion-mile journey to gather valuable information about the moon’s icy surface and the potential oceans beneath it.
A Special Collaboration and Poetic Message
The Message in a Bottle campaign is a collaborative effort between NASA, the Library of Congress, and U.S. poet laureate Ada Limón. As part of this campaign, a poem titled “In Praise of Mystery: A Poem from Europa” written by Limón will be included on the spacecraft. Additionally, all the names collected will be stenciled onto microchips that will be on board. Each line of names will be minuscule, measuring only 75 nanometers, which is 1/1000 the width of a human hair.
How to Participate
Participating in the campaign is simple. Visit NASA’s dedicated web page for the campaign and enter your first and last name, email, country, state, and zip code. Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2023.
A Personal Connection to Space
Despite the fact that there is no one to receive the message in space and the names will be incredibly small, over 900,000 people have eagerly participated in this campaign. The allure may lie in the fact that having their name sent into space, 1.8 billion miles away, allows individuals to feel a personal connection to the vastness of the universe. It provides an exciting experience, even though the message may never be read by anyone or reach its destination.
Continuing the Tradition of Sending Messages Beyond Earth
This campaign follows a long-standing tradition of sending messages beyond Earth. In 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft carried unique gold-plated phonograph records filled with sounds and images from Earth. These records were intended to communicate the story of our world to extraterrestrial beings.
By participating in the Message in a Bottle campaign, individuals have the opportunity to be part of a unique and historic endeavor that allows their names to reside somewhere beyond the familiar neighborhood of Earth.