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NASA soliciting messages for Mars spacecraft

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Artist's concept of MAVEN in Mars orbit. (Photo: NASA)

DENVER — NASA is collecting names and personal messages for a DVD that will be carried on a spacecraft that will study the atmosphere of Mars.

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution or MAVEN spacecraft is scheduled to launch in November.

The DVD is part of the Going to Mars Campaign coordinated by the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

The DVD will carry every name submitted, said Stephanie Renfrow, lead for the MAVEN Education and Public Outreach program at LASP.

Three-line poems and haiku will also be considered.

The deadline for all submissions is July 1.

Then NASA will collect votes for the top three messages to be placed on the DVD.

“The Going to Mars campaign offers people worldwide a way to make a personal connection to space, space exploration, and science in general, and share in our excitement about the MAVEN mission,” Renfrow said.

“This new campaign is a great opportunity to reach the next generation of explorers and excite them about science, technology, engineering and math,” said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at LASP. “I look forward to sharing our science with the worldwide community as MAVEN begins to piece together what happened to the Red Planet’s atmosphere.”

MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring Mars’ upper atmosphere. Scientists hope the mission will help explain how the loss of Mars’ atmosphere determined the history of water on the surface.

MAVEN’s principal investigator is based at CU-Boulder’s LASP. The university will provide science operations, science instruments and lead the Education and Public Outreach program. Goddard manages the project and provides two of the science instruments for the mission.
Lockheed Martin, in Littleton, built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations.

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