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.
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.