Haiku Contest




"B is for Bennu."
Is that good enough for you?
Spectra disagree.

-Dr. Andrew S. Rivkin
Abstract #1945, "Hydrated Minerals on B-class Asteroids", A. S. Rivkin, E. S. Howell, J. P. Emery, M. Richardson
A, S, J


Oceans long since past
Dry, cracked ground, no trace remains
But the taste of salt.

-Ms. Elise M. Harrington
Abstract #1490, "Detailed Chloride Mapping in Terra Sirenum, Mars", E. M. Harrington, B. B. Bultel, A. M. Krzesińska, S. Werner
A, J


Compare day and night:
The surface cools, bedrock shines
The fines fade away.

-Mr. Justin C. Cowart
Abstract #1112, "Compositional Analysis of Martian Regolith and Surface Deposits Using THEMIS Repeat Imaging Over the Diurnal Cycle", J. C. Cowart, A. D. Rogers
J + S+


She sways to and fro
Plunging us into darkness
When will summer come?

-Mr. Samuel F. A. Cartwright
Abstract #2533, "The Lunar Season Calculator: An Accessible Tool for Future Mission Planning", S. F. A. Cartwright, J. M. Bretzfelder

Honorable Mentions:

All the labs are closed
And I can't travel. This is all
The data I have.

-Dr. Tasha L. Dunn
Abstract #1063, "A CV Chondrite Clast in a CK Chondrite?", T. L. Dunn, K. N. Robak, J. Gross

Submitted last year
But you never saw it and
Mercury is rad.

-Prof. Michelle Thompson
Abstract #1496, "Understanding the Space Weathering of Mercury Through Laboratory Experiments", M. S. Thompson, K. E. Vander Kaaden, M. J. Loeffler, F. M. McCubbin

Criteria for Judging Haiku:

  1. The abstract summary should be in the general form of haiku (or senryu or zappai). The judges will consider those with rhythmic syllable count similar to the classic form of 5-7-5. Small variants (e.g., 5-9-5) are acceptable (e.g., Kimo), consistent with the current state of English haiku. Other verse forms are not eligible, e.g., limericks.
  2. The haiku must serve their practical purpose: with the abstract title, they must tell the reader what to expect in the abstract. And the expectation must match the abstract itself. Here's an unapologetic example from LPSC a few years ago.

    High Radar Reflectivity on Venus' Highlands: Different Signatures on Ovda Regio and Maxwell Montes," E. Harrington, A. H. Treiman. Abstract #2713.

    The hills grow brighter
    As you climb, but the summits
    Remain in darkness.
  3. The haiku should engage the reader. It should teach or explain something or pose interesting questions. Would you want to share the poem?
  4. Bonus points for literary values and maturity in construction, including for instances, meter, alliteration, ambiguity and shades of meaning, and/or humor or puns).

    Particularly characteristic of the best haiku is a "punch", a jolt, an unexpected turn (in Japanese - kireji), typically in the last line. An example (for our Antarctic meteorite hunters) here is a slightly modified version of a classic haiku from the Japanese master Issa-san:

    from the esteemed nose
    of the esteemed Buddha –
    a snotsicle