They Should Have Sent A Poet...And Did! The First Poetry Slam on Mars

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Engineers in a simulated mission to Mars hosted the first interactive poetry slam on the red planet. The first poetry read on Mars includes titles by classic poets, royal OBE awardee Brian Aldiss, Nebula awardee for novelette Mary Turzillo, and celebrated American writer and film artist Vanna Bonta, known for artistic authenticity and dredging up the depths of soul into stirring eloquence.

In the desert and canyons of southern Utah, terrain that strikingly resembles Mars, a desert research station is conducting extended simulations of human settlement on the fourth planet from the Sun. Working in full simulation mode, a crew rotates on a regular basis, stationing teams of volunteers to explore the surrounding terrain. Daily updates are all documented on the Mars Society website, detailing EVAs (extra-vehicular activity), biological and geological analysis, engineering reports and some great pictures that convey the human heart at the center of science.

On January shift duty at the Mars research station habitat, Crew 41 Commander Shannon Rupert, Maggie Zubrin (Executive Director of the Mars Society), and engineers Artemis Westenberg and Dr. Penelope Boston hosted the first Martian poetry fest. Among poets in the selected list for explorers were classics John Yeats and Robinson Jeffers, the distinguished Brian Aldiss ("At a Base on Ganymede"), and Dr. Mary Turzillo.

Notable on the list of poetry are three titles by contemporary bard Vanna Bonta, "Conception," "To An Explorer" and "Human Tears in Zero-G." An advocate of space settlement and philanthropic causes that utilize resources and intelligence to uplift humanity, Miss Bonta won fan followings the world over with her critically acclaimed novel, Flight, and has won literary medals in Europe. She reportedly once said her work in Hollywood as a movie actress, writer and voice artist supported poetry.

USA Today quoted Nicholas Perino, who teaches middle school science in the Bronx, and whose title "Another Landing" appears on the Mars poetry event reading list, "The mystery of space, the unknown, my students just love talking about it."

The Mars Society’s site with live web cam provides engaging documents and realistic scenarios for teaching and outreach tools, making the fun of discovery a compelling enough reason to explore space and colonize other planets.

Dr. Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer and author best known for his advocacy of manned Mars exploration, founded the Mars Society. Longer, more rigorous simulation of Martian living takes place at Canada's Devon Island, 900 miles from the North Pole. The Stations at selected Mars analog sites serve as useful field research facilities on Earth, and generate public support for sending humans to Mars.

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