NASA’s Lucy mission carries Amanda Gorman poem, Beatles lyrics to space

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There are messages from Earth with Lucy on a 12-year journey, including a poem by inaugural National Young Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, and lyrics and quotes from the Beatles. The ambitious mission will explore the never-before-seen Trojan asteroid swarm, ancient remains from the formation of our solar system.

Lucy also carries with her the legacy of the discovery, sharing a name with a fossil belonging to an ancient human ancestor. The fossil, discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 by anthropologist Donald Johansson, was named in honor of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by the Beatles.
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“That night at camp, somewhere in the middle, as we were celebrating her discovery, we were listening to a Beatles tape of ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,'” Johansson said during a live NASA broadcast of Lucy’s launch. said. The song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was playing, and someone said, ‘Why don’t you call her Lucy?’ And that’s all; you couldn’t go back and call him anything else.”

Once Lucy’s mission to detect asteroids is complete, the spacecraft will remain in a stable orbit, traveling between Earth and the Trojans for hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of years. So the mission team included a gold plaque filled with messages from Earth’s Nobel Laureates in Literature, American Poet Laureates, and other inspirational figures.


This is not unlike the plaques on NASA’s Pioneer 10 and 11 missions and the golden record on Voyager 1 and 2—all man-made objects entering interstellar space. According to the agency, Lucy won’t travel that far, but she continues the tradition of serving as a time capsule for our descendants.

The plaque includes a diagram showing Lucy’s trajectory to locate the Trojans and the positions of the planets in our Solar System, the date of Lucy’s launch: October 16, 2021.

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“NASA placed this plaque with the hope that space exploration will continue and that someday astrophysicists may travel between planets and retrieve this spacecraft as an artifact of the early days when humanity took its first steps to explore our solar system,” according to an agency release.

messages of hope

Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in American history, wrote an original poem specifically for Lucy Mission:

“Blessed are those who see

Lucy’s Bones in the Dream:

that the world is braver than mankind

Be a world that leaves us as human beings.

Every morning we felt courageous,

Forever meditating on the light.

May the ancient hope beg us,

on our unshakable core,

For one earth to keep growing more

Not worth fighting for.”

Adjacent to Gorman’s poem are the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “We are not the makers of history. We are made of history.”

This is the golden plaque attached to the Lucy spacecraft.
The plaque included songs and quotes from all four members of the Beatles. Sir Ringo Starr shared his “Peace and Love” Message. These songs from other members of the Fab Four are also along for the ride:
  • Late John Lennon’s song “Instant Karma!” From “We all shine… like the moon and the stars and the sun!”
  • “And the love you take in the end is equal to the love you make,” wrote in “The End” by Sir Paul McCartney.
  • “When you have looked beyond yourself, you may find that peace of mind awaits there,” wrote the late George Harrison in “Without You Without You.”
View all messages, including quotes from Albert Einstein; Joy Harjo, the first Native American to be named American Poet Laureate; and astronomer Carl Sagan, who worked on the Pioneer plaques and Voyager gold records, Here.

for memories

The words inscribed on the gold plaque were not just a message of strength, dedication and a celebration of human life sent into space on Saturday. There were three dedications on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that launched the Lucy spacecraft.

A plaque was dedicated to the Goddard Space Flight Center Lucy mission team with the message “Lucy Strong” to recognize the team’s hard work to assemble a spacecraft during a pandemic.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket made several dedications.

The other two respected team members who died before launch, including Craig M. Whitaker, technician William Joiner II and engineer Mark Kaszubowski. The trio had long careers at NASA and the United Launch Alliance and were remembered as dear friends.

Voyager spacecraft explores 'constantly us' beyond our solar system

Whitaker’s son, Jarrod Whitaker, was able to see the Atlas rocket lift his father’s dedication on Saturday. A vehicle systems engineer, Jarrod worked with his father in NASA’s Launch Services Program for five years. When he was just 7 years old, he remembers discussing science missions with his father at the dinner table.

“He always encouraged me to do what I wanted, but I always knew in my heart that I would be at NASA LSP,” he said during the live NASA broadcast of the Lucy launch.


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