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.