The Lucy Plaque – Spacecraft Will Carry It on Journey to the Trojan Asteroids

Hal Levison Lucy Plaque

Hal Levison with the Lucy Plaque. Credit: NASA

The first spacecraft to leave the Solar System carried with them messages from Earth for any intelligent life that may one day encounter them. The Lucy Mission continues this tradition, but the plaque it carries as a time capsule is not for unknown aliens, but for our own decedents. After the mission is over, the Lucy spacecraft will remain on a stable orbit—traveling between the Earth and the Trojan asteroids for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years. It is not hard to imagine that some day in the distant future our decedents may retrieve the Lucy spacecraft as a relic of the early days of humanity’s exploration of the Solar System.

Therefore the spacecraft carries a plaque as a time capsule, including messages from prominent thinkers of our time and a diagram showing the positions of the planets on the date of Lucy’s launch.

Lucy Plaque

The plaque that the Lucy spacecraft will carry on its journey to the Trojan asteroids. Credit: NASA

The messages on the plaque are below.

When the axe came into the woods, many of the trees said, “At least the handle is one of us.” – Turkish Proverb

Billy Collins (1941–) American Poet who served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003.

This alone is what I wish for you: knowledge. To understand each desire has an edge, to know we are responsible for the lives we change. No faith comes without cost, no one believes without dying.

There are no curses – only mirrors held up to the souls of gods and mortals.

Believe in yourself, go ahead – see where it gets you.

Rita Dove (1952–) American poet and essayist who served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995, the first African American appointed to that role.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-born theoretical physicist who changed humanity’s perception of the world.

Above the fields, above the roofs of the village houses, the brilliance that made all life possible becomes the cold stars.

Lie still and watch: they give nothing but ask nothing.

Louise Gluck (1943–) American poet and essayist awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Blessed be the people who see
The dream in the bones of Lucy:
That the worlds braved by humankind
Be worlds that leave us humans kind.
Let each dawn find us courageous,
Heeding the light forevermore.
May ancient hope implore us,
At our uncompromising core,
To keep rising for an earth more
Than worth fighting for.

Amanda Gorman (1998–) American poet and activist who was the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate.

Remember the earth whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories, too.
Remember you are all people and all people are you. Remember you are this universe and this universe is you.

Joy Harjo (1951–) Member of the Muscogee Nation and United States poet laureate, the first native American to receive that honor.

When you’ve seen beyond yourself then you may find peace of mind is waiting there.

George Harrison (1943-2001) English musician, singer-songwriter, and lead guitarist for the Beatles.

¡Adelante, adelaaante, Lucy!
Todos del pueblo cantaron
millones de millas recorrimos
celestes Trojans, el ojo de Júpiter, el Sol
2,000,000 de años jinetes solares
forjados de esperanza —
la tierra estaba dividida hubo
odio hubo enfermedades
la ártica deslizándose
nos reunimos florecimos
la bondad nos sanó
dando tumbos, Lucy nos protegió
por senderos planetesimales
el amor nos salvó
¿Quienes seremos?

Juan Felipe Herrera (1948–) American poet, performer, and the first Chicano United States poet laureate from 2015-2017.

Will you join your memories to ours? Can we be part of your history? Or has some chasm appeared by now to keep your dreams and ours forever apart? We’ve achieved things of which we’re proud; done many things of which we’re ashamed. Do you prefer us to drift past into the darkness? Or will you reach towards this frail extended hand in excited kinship?

Kazuo Ishiguro British author and musician, awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature.

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.

Martin Luther King Jr (1929-1968) American minster and civil rights activist.

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Sir Paul McCartney (1942–) English singer and songwriter who was a member of the Beatles, credited with co-writing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Who Wants to live Forever? – if love must die.

Brian May (1947–) English musician, singer-songwriter and astrophysicist who is the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen.

We all shine on . . . like the moon and the stars and the sun.

John Lennon (1940-1980) English singer-songwriter, member of the Beatles, and primary author of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

Yoko Ono (1933–) Artist, singer, songwriter and peace activist, and wife of John Lennon before his death.

Daha çok sevmek,daha çok gülmek,daha çok düşünmek isterdik.Daha çok görmek,daha çok anlamak,daha çok güvenmek isterdik.Şimdi bizden kalanlar bu istekler ve bu kelimeler. Huzur, rüyalar, uyku ve öpüşler vardı. İnsanlar,meyvalar,kagıtlar ve kalemler de vardı. Çünkü hiçbir şey hayat kadar şaşırtıcı olamaz.Yazı hariç. Evet, tabii, tek teselli yazı hariç.

Orhan Pamuk (1952–) Turkish novelist, awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Cutting off fundamental, curiosity-driven science is like eating the seed corn. We may have a little more to eat next winter but what will we plant so we and our children will have enough to get through the winters to come?

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) Astronomer and science communicator who assembled the pioneer plaque and voyager golden record.

I’m writing to you from a world you’ll have a hard time imagining, to a world I can’t picture no matter how hard I try. Do you still have birds that wake you up in the morning with their singing and lovers who gaze at the stars trying to read in them the fate of their love? If you do, we’ll recognize one another.

Charles Simic (1938–) Serbian American Poet, Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

We, the inquisitive people of Earth, sent this robot spacecraft to explore the pristine small bodies orbiting near the largest planet in our solar system. We sought to trace our own origins as far back as evidence allowed. Even as we looked to the ancient past, we thought ahead to the day you might recover this relic of our science.

Dava Sobel (1947–) American writer and science journalist, whose messages were also included in the pioneer plaques.

Peace and Love.

Sir Ringo Starr (1940–) English singer and songwriter who was the drummer for the Beatles.

“W całej naszej historii staraliśmy się poznać kim jesteśmy, skąd i dokąd idziemy. Jednak wszystko widzieliśmy osobno i nie umieliśmy dostrzec współzależności i powszechności wielopoziomowych skom-plikowanych związków. Dziś wiemy, że „osobno” jest złudzeniem, bo przecież jesteśmy okruchem czasu, cząstką przestrzeni, zaledwie akordem w nieskończenie wielkim koncercie. Wiedza, która nie potrafi łączyć ze sobą różnych faktów jest nic nie warta.”

Olga Tokarczuk (1962–) Polish writer and activist who was awarded the 2018 Nobel prize in literature.

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