We are sending students TO JUPITER! Well, kind of. We are sending students to THE MOON! Okay, again, kind of.
NASA is giving anyone, anywhere in the world, the opportunity to send their name to be etched onto a spacecraft they are sending to Jupiter’s moon Europa. Europa has more liquid water on it than Earth and it is believed to have huge oceans covering its entire surface beneath the ice we see around the entire planet. The Europa Clipper mission is looking for signs of life in those oceans as well as learning about the chemistry of the water on the moon.
Our 5-8 graders have signed up and sent their names to NASA. There are only ~4,000 people in MN who have participated.
Submitted names are signatures to a poem by U.S. Nobel Laureate poet Ada Limon. Names will be stenciled in tiny letters on special microchips that will ride aboard the Europa Clipper spacecraft as it journeys 1.8 billion miles (2.6 billion kilometers) to the icy moon!
The probe will be launched in October of next year and then will reach Jupiter in 2030, carrying all our names aboard it. This probe will likely out-live earth, and now so will our names!