Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Lincoln on Mars
Curiosity took a Lincoln penny to Mars. This was in part a tribute to the practice of geologists including a penny in photographs of rock samples to give a sense of scale.
And now a Lincoln penny serves as part of a calibration target for Curiosity's cameras.
But not just any penny. This one is from 1909, the first year of issue for the Lincoln penny, and still bearing the initials of the designer of that handsome coin, removed before the end of the first year of full production.
When Teddy Roosevelt was determined that even the smallest denomination coin issued by the United States should be an admirable piece of work.
And someone in the project made sure that the coin that went to Mars was from the first year of issue for the Lincoln penny, and still bearing the designer's initials.
So a familiar mundane object that is also a fine portrait in relief of one of the United States' greatest presidents, and an expression of our values, is on Mars, where we can see that it is now flecked with particles of Martian dust.