"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Spring/Summer 2023 | Hot Ticket | Caitlin Wilson
artwork for Caitlin Wilson's poem Hot Ticket

Hot Ticket
Caitlin Wilson

In a small crowded beige room with an image
of the sun on a screen, I’m told they have just
launched a satellite into the sun. Or not the sun,
per se, but closer than any man-made thing
has ever been, less than four million miles
from the surface after a seven-year drift,
of which it has, at this moment, completed three.
Still, they call it the “Mission to Touch the Sun.”
A shield remains at all times between sun
and satellite, rotating through each revolution.
In a PR stunt called Hot Ticket, NASA offered
to include citizen names in a microchip aboard
the satellite, so one could send one’s name
into the sun. I found it macabre and enticing.
I was too late to share my name. At some point,
because of the helpful gravity that allows study
proximity, the satellite will melt with the heat
of the encroaching corona, and still I’m
not certain that equals touching, more so that
the creators of the undertaking were well
aware that every name on board would be
destroyed, short of the true destination.

Caitlin Wilson’s Comments

Years ago, I was a lowly intern at NOAA, where I encountered the ways they connect with the public. During an event at NASA, I learned about the Hot Ticket initiative, which isn’t the first or last of its kind (soon they’re sending a poem by Patricia Clark to the moon, and a poem by Ada Limón is going to Europa). I’m fascinated by the idea of sending a proxy into space.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 61 | Spring/Summer 2023