About 12,500 valid entries were submitted by poets around the world, according to the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, which is in charge of MAVEN's science operations and organized the contest. Each haiku reflected the 5-7-5-syllable scheme associated with the traditional Japanese form of poetry.
Internet users were given the chance to vote for their favorite poem. These top five haiku received more than 1,000 votes each:
It’s funny, they named Mars after the God of War Have a look at Earth — Benedict Smith, United Kingdom
Thirty-six million miles of whispering welcome. Mars, you called us home. — Vanna Bonta, USA
Stars in the blue sky cheerfully observe the Earth while we long for them — Luisa Santoro, Italy
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distant red planet the dreams of earth beings flow we will someday roam — Greg Pruett, Idaho, USA
Mars, your secret is unknown for humanity we want to know you. — Fanni Redenczki, Hungary
"The contest has resonated with people in ways that I never imagined," Stephanie Renfrow, the leader of MAVEN's education and outreach team, said in a UC-Boulder news release. "Both new and accomplished poets wrote poetry to reflect their views of Earth and Mars, their feelings about space exploration, their loss of loved ones who have passed on, and their sense of humor.”
Benedict Smith, a British poet and short-story author, thanked the more than 2,000 fans who voted for his entry. "I genuinely have the best followers," he wrote on his website.
LASP said every haiku that received more than two votes — amounting to more than 1,100 in all — would be encoded onto a DVD that will be attached to the spacecraft prior to launch in November. That means this haiku about haiku will be getting a ride ...
MAVEN’s engineers write in binary while we count some syllables. — Craig Houghton, Connecticut, USA
... And here's one of my personal favorites, a tribute to Marvin the Martian:
The DVD will also contain digitized artwork from a student art contest, plus thousands of names submitted via MAVEN's "Going to Mars" webpage. Even though the haiku contest is over, you still have a month to add your name to the list on the Mars DVD.
MAVEN stands for "Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN." The spacecraft arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for final pre-launch preparations last week. It's due to be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop an Atlas 5 rocket no earlier than Nov. 18, and enter Martian orbit in September 2014. The $670 million mission is designed to delve into the mystery of Mars' disappearing atmosphere and reconstruct the planet's climate history.