The First Latina Poet Laureate Sends Poem to Jupiter

The first Latina to be named U.S. Poet Laureate is about to check off one more bucket list item that’s out of this world.

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Poet Ada Limón’s incredible accolades keep piling up. Last September, the MacArthur “genius” grant recipient began her second term as the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate. Now, her work will be launched into space! Continue to learn more about the inspiring poet and her beautiful words floating in the sky!

Message in a Bottle

On October 10, 2024, the Europa Clipper spacecraft will carry Limón’s poem In Praise of Mystery: A Poem for Europa on its mission to Jupiter. The poem dissects humanity and the link between watery Earth and the potential ocean-harboring Europa, Jupiter’s second moon. The piece forms part of NASA’s “Message in a Bottle” campaign, which invited people across the globe to submit their names to be stenciled onto the microchip carrying Limón’s engraved text. Name submissions were closed on December 31st, 2023.

Photo of planet Jupiter and a graphic depicting a bottle sticking out of a text bubble.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/GABRIELA COLLAZO

According to NASA, the Europa Clipper will travel 1.8 billion miles (2.89 billion kilometers) during its expedition to Jupiter and its moons. Its mission will be to investigate if the ocean believed to exist beneath Europa can support life.

A History-Making Poet Laureate

Before getting this epic opportunity, Ada Limón’s resume was already stacked. In 2022 she was named the 24th U.S. Poet Laureate, making the Mexican-American writer the first Latina to receive the honor. She’s also made history for getting a two-year second term, starting in September 2023 and ending in April 2025.

Grayscale photo of writer Ada Limón posing with her hand below her chin.
IMAGE VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Appointed by the Library of Congress, the Poet Laureate promotes the art of poetry across the nation through lectures, readings, and outreach programs.

Ada Limón will continue to fulfill her role this year via her program You Are Here. Over the summer, she will travel from Washington to Florida, unveiling poetry installations across seven national parks.

You Are Here by Ada Limón book cover, featuring the silhouettes of a hopping deer and leaves on a textured seafoam background.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSHOP.ORG

In addition, her new anthology — likewise titled You Are Here — will be published in April.

As for the Europa Clipper, the spacecraft is projected to start orbiting Jupiter in 2030.

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