When the prolifically successful planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft quit working, researchers bemoaned the cutoff of data that seemed to be narrowing in on an Earth-like planet millions of light years from our solar system.

One researcher in the $600 million mission based at Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center was moved to write an ode based on W.H. Auden's "Funeral Blues."

UC Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy sent this poetic ode to Space.com:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the Internet,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let jet airplanes circle at night overhead

Sky-writing over Cygnus: Kepler is dead.

Put crepe bows round the white necks of doves,

Let the traffic officers wear black cotton gloves.

Kepler was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week, no weekend rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talks, my song;

I thought Kepler would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are still wanted now; let's honor every one,

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;

For nothing will ever be this good.

-- With thanks to W.H. Auden

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 650-492-4098.



Advertisement