RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Now, to a story I'll do entirely in haiku, so bear with me. And just in case you need a primmer: just three lines of verse. Syllables are what counts here - five, seven, then five. For the last few months, scientists have collected haikus meant for Mars. Thousands of poets, pros and amateurs alike, submitted their work. The public then picked their favorite Mars haikus. We are fans of these, by Anonymous.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Reading) Mars, oh. Do forgive. We never meant to obstruct Your view of Venus.
MARTIN: By American Poet Vanna Bonta:
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Reading) Thirty-six million miles of whispering welcome. Mars, you called us home.
MARTIN: And the overall winner penned by Benedict Smith:
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's funny, they named Mars after the God of War Have a look at Earth.
MARTIN: Those three poems and more than 1,100 others really will be on their way to Mars in November, packed tightly into NASA's Maven spacecraft. Once they get to the red planet, they surely will bemoan that obstructed view of Venus. The poems and the probe will orbit Mars as the less literary cargo is put to work collecting data about the Martian atmosphere. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.