by Chris Tobias
Autumn arrived in the Northern Hemisphere this past week, which means it’s time for us to reprise our “Leaf on the Wind” campaign to convince SpaceX to name their first Crew Dragon Serenity.
We’ve written about this campaign here a couple of times before, but in case you don’t want to go sifting through the archives to read about it, here’s how it works:
We’re asking each and every supporter of Take Back the Sky to go into his or her yard (or perhaps a park) and pick a leaf. It should be a leaf that is either still on the branch, or one that is very freshly fallen. Put that leaf in a small, sealable plastic bag, and put it in an envelope with a short note to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk and/or president Gwynne Shotwell asking SpaceX to name its first Crew Dragon Serenity (and I do mean short– one or two sentences will do). Once you’ve done that, seal the envelope, slap a stamp on it and mail it to this address:Space Exploration Technologies Attn: Elon Musk (or Attn: Gwynne Shotwell) 1 Rocket Road Hawthorne, CA 90250 USA
When Elon Musk and Gwynne Shotwell get piles of leaves big enough to jump in, we’re pretty sure they’ll get the message that Browncoats around the world are passionate about the idea of a manned US spacecraft called Serenity!
Now, here are a few tips for a successful “Leaf on the Wind:”
- I can’t speak for Canada or Mexico, but for those in America, the US Postal Service will allow the mailing of plant matter only as long as it will not decompose before it reaches its destination, so be sure to pick a leaf that is either still on the branch or very freshly fallen. Those pretty autumn colors may look just like Serenity’s logo, but Elon Musk will never see them if the envelope gets flagged and pulled because it has a certain aroma of unpleasantness about it when it arrives in California. If you want your leaf to stay fresh longer, you can blow a tiny amount of air into the bag (not too much, or it won’t fit in the envelope) before you seal it. That way you really are sending SpaceX a leaf “on the wind.” Another helpful technique is to take a very small wad of paper towel, toilet paper or Kleenex tissue and moisten it slightly, and then wrap it around the leaf’s stem before you seal it in the bag.
- The note you include should be brief and hand-written. This will set it apart from the letters that have already been arriving. Again, one or two sentences will do. (I chose to include a little Haiku with mine: “Watch your Dragon soar/With the name Serenity/A leaf on the wind.”) It’s probably also a good idea to sign it, because CEO’s and presidents of big companies tend to get a little nervous when they start getting anonymous notes in the mail! If you want to make it seem informal, yet personal, try signing just your first name and where you’re from (for example, “Chris from Pittsburgh”).
- Make sure you know what kind of leaf you’ve chosen so you’re not sending a leaf that’s hazardous to the touch. (We want Elms and Maples, not Poison Ivy or Poison Sumac!)
- For our supporters who are not in North America, you can still get involved, but it will take a little bit more work. Since your leaves on the wind aren’t likely to arrive before they decompose, you’ll have to think outside the box, but you could send a handmade leaf cut out of construction paper. They may not be real, but I’m sure they still will be all kinds of pretty, and you won’t have to worry about them losing their beauty before Elon Musk or Gwynne Shotwell ever sees them. If you don’t want to go through that trouble, feel free to copy, print and cut out this one (coloring it is optional, but including a little note is still a really good idea):
- Regardless of whether your leaf on the wind is hand-picked or hand-made, be sure to tell people you’ve sent it on message boards and on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (#LeafOnTheWind), and encourage them to do the same. If we want this campaign to succeed, we need as many people as possible to participate. Also, this campaign is not meant to take the place of regular letters. Ideally, the two should work in tandem. We need to keep sending those plain old ordinary letters as well!
- Don’t forget: just like letters, leaves don’t have to be a “one and done” statement. Fall lasts about three months, and that leaves you a lot of time (see what did there?) to send an awful lot of fall foliage to SpaceX!
So, if you’re a Browncoat who would like to see a manned US spacecraft named Serenity, or just someone who believes that bridging the gap between science-fiction and hard science will help rekindle American interest in space exploration, please take a few moments of your time and the cost of a postage stamp to send SpaceX a leaf on the wind– literally.
Peace, love and rockets…
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