Skip to comments.Abe Lincoln has Mars dust in his beard [Abraham Lincoln on Mars]
Posted on 10/05/2013 8:16:48 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
When the Curiosity rover landed on Mars more than a year ago it brought with it an earthly artifact more than a century old a 1909 Lincoln penny. For good luck? Maybe, but JPL engineers affixed the penny to the roving robot as a calibration target for its mobile, closeup camera named MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager). While Abes looking a little dusty, his weathered face tells the story of 14 months on another planet...
Ken Edgett, principal investigator for MAHLI, bought the penny with his own money (coins in similar condition go for around $20 on eBay). Sure, mission planners could have used a standard ruler scale but opted instead for Edgetts more poetic penny. NASAs willingness to bend standard procedure to better connect with the public is a good thing.
But why a 1909 penny in particular? The Lincoln cent was first minted in 1909 to commemorate the centennial of President Lincolns birth. Curiosity was originally scheduled to launch in 2009, which happened to be the pennys 100th anniversary. The connections across 200 years of time have an irresistible appeal to our romantic side...
Delays pushed Curiositys launch date to 2011, but Lincoln kept his seat and now looks out across new territory every day.
The pennys shine has disappeared beneath a fine coating of dust and bits of soil. I imagine NASA scientists wringing crucial data about the Martian atmosphere, winds and soil particle size as they study of the deposition of material on the coins face now and in the years ahead. Lincolns legacy reaches even to the Red Planet.
(Excerpt) Read more at astrobob.areavoices.com ...
The Mars penny all shiny before launch (left) and on Oct. 2. The coin is a 1909 VDB cent. The initials VDB of the coins designer, Victor David Brenner, are etched onto the reverse side. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An extra to X-Planets and APoD.
Liberty! It rocks.
Thanks so much, SunkenCiv!
That’s very neat. Good for the man who thought of it and bought the Penny. Very nice touch.
Thanks, that’s cool! Had not heard about that.
Great story, the Curiosity also carries my name etched on a chip.
Look at that image crosseyed for an interesting faux stereoscopic effect.
Back in the late 80s or very early 90s I recall Astronomy magazine has a blurb about Jupiter (possibly a transit event) and they had 2 images of Jupiter side by side taken a few hours apart. The ever so slight rotation of the planet... though they did not mean for this effect... lent itself to a perfect stereoscopic view of the planet. Looking at the twin image “just right” truly did render depth... it looked like a marble you could reach out and touch.
Shelia Jackson Lee must be beside herself that the first politician on Mars is a Republican. Probably will demand an investigation as to why a bi-partisan team of politicians were not sent there to plant the US flag. :-)
well, he did free the slaves.
They probably got the idea from watching that Adventure Time episode of Abe Lincoln on Mars.
FWIW, Jupiter has about a 10 hour day.
I put the names of my family members on some outer solar system probe, a similar chip, beats me which one. :’)
In a Hundred and Fifty years some kid on a field trip is going to snag that sucker!
It will irk liberals (er, “progressives”) to no end that “In God We Trust” is on a NASA robot on Mars. That will be the last time that happens.
Probably the probe(Stardust) that met up with a comet.Scooped up comet particles and returned to Earth. It had names on board from a NASA website where you could sign up!
Stardust was launched carrying two sets of identical pairs of square 10.16-centimetre (4.00 in) silicon wafers. Each pair featured engravings of well over one million names of people who participated in the public outreach program by filling out internet forms available in late 1997 and mid-1998. One pair of the microchips was positioned on the spacecraft and the other was attached to the sample return capsule.
I thought this was going to prove to be some lame provocative headline, tied to a silly speculative article, but instead it is actually quite interesting. Thanks!