twin-Rover mission to Mars is being commemorated by a handsome
5 oz. pure silver proof medal. The NASA-approved designs
were created by Alex Shagin. The obverse features the two
Rovers on the surface of Mars, with a portion of our planetary
system in the background; the inscription reads "MARS
EXPLORATION ROVERS · SPIRIT · VI-10 ·
OPPORTUNITY · VII-7." The reverse contains the
NASA logo within a stylized sun; the surrounding legend
reads "UNITED STATES NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE
ADMINISTRATION · 2003."
is the second issue in a series of NASA-approved commemoratives;
the first was a tribute to the Columbia crew. The Rover
and Columbia medals are available for $89 each from PandaAmerica,
3460 Torrance Blvd., Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90503. Credit
card orders can be placed by calling (800) 472-6327 or e-mailing
Add $5.50 for shipping and insurance per order. Each medal
comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Third-grader Sofi Collis won the Rover naming contest with
the following essay:
used to live in an Orphanage. It was dark and cold and lonely.
At night, I looked up at the sparkly sky and felt better.
I dreamed I could fly there. In America, I can make all
my dreams come true
Thank-you for the "Spirit"
and the "Opportunity."
was launched on July 7, 2003 and "Spirit"
on June 10. The twin spacecrafts in NASA's Mars Exploration
Rover project are carrying field-geology robots for arrival
at Mars in January. Both rovers will land in the Martian
afternoon within 45 minutes of each other, while the Earth
is still in view, allowing the Earth to receive the landing
instruments on the Rovers are state-of-the-art tools that
will acquire information about the Martian environment.
They include: Panoramic Camera, Microscopic Imager, Miniature
Thermal Emission Spectrometer, Rock Abrasion Tool, and other
instruments that will determine accurate colors, brightness,
and other information.
Prepared by Mel Wacks on October 13, 2003