Three years ago, I wrote about a haiku contest I entered, where NASA wouldn’t let me say “penis.”


My haiku was in reference to the giant penis doodle some NASA guys used an $800 million dollar rover to draw in the Martian soil. “Accidentally.” Don’t believe me? It was all over the news back in early 2013. Google “Martian penis”…surprisingly, it’s the first thing you’ll see.

Oh dry, red planet

sorry about the penis

our techs are childish

(it’s an apology…I was being poetically polite to our interstellar neighbors!)


My haiku got nixed “out of sensitivity towards small children and their parents, who would be offended by the word ‘penis’.” As the parent of a small (boy) child myself, I had some entertaining conversations with the Office of Communications and Outreach, educating them on the fact that the word loses all ability to offend when your small child has one, because it’s endlessly entertaining to them and they talk about it a LOT. And hey, if NASA employees could draw one on Mars, why can’t I apologize for it in haiku? They wouldn’t go for it, despite having an excellent sense of humor about the whole thing, and that was where the story ended. Or so I thought. Months later, there was a further update to this story (spoiler, it’s in the title). I was sworn to secrecy and told not to mention it “for at least a year” (probably so nobody would get fired). And y’all, I am the Best Secret Keeper Ever, because I forgot about it for THREE YEARS. That basically means I can keep a secret from myself. I’ll be adding that to my list of fairly useless super-powers, along with my outstanding ability to state the obvious, squirrel whispering, and moving one eye at a time.


So, now I can share the rest of the story, since I exceeded my promise by a factor of 3…y’all, my penis haiku went to Mars!!! It’s orbiting Mars right now!


Here’s the deal…they received 12,530 haiku submissions in the contest. There were a couple of politically correct winners selected, but they realize that it didn’t make sense to send a whole CD up there with just a couple of haiku on it, so they decided what the heck, any submissions with at least 2 votes would get to go. And since mine had votes before it was deemed too racy for space-y… shhhhhh…it got on the CD through that loophole! Was this an “accident?” Perhaps. About as much of an accident as the doodle I wrote the haiku about, I’d say! Here’s the official email:

haiku email

haiku cd pic


If that wasn’t cool enough, I also got some official NASA mission swag, including the mission patch, bumper stickers, and a poster (which my space-freak kiddo has claimed – he thinks it’s pretty awesome that his Mama sent a message to outer space).

maven swag.jpg


There you have it. My claim to fame. When I’m awkwardly trying to come up with something interesting to discuss at cocktail parties, I can now say, “Did I mention I sent a penis poem to another planet?”