Do you think Abraham Lincoln ever imagined his image would be traveling around on Mars?
Lincoln on Mars…It all began on July 29, 1958 when the US Congress passed legislation to establish the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the same day signed the act that put NASA into the space race. After being topped by the Soviet Union as the first nation to travel into space, the creation of NASA (a civilian agency) made the US-Soviet race official.
Can you imagine the look on President Lincoln’s face in 1861 if someone told him that on July 20, 1969 the United States would land a man on the moon? Would it be that of disbelief or curiosity?
NASA successfully landed the Curiosity rover on Mars in August 2012. It’s mission to explore Mars and confirm if the planet had ever possessed conditions that could support life. To help geologists determine the scale of Curiosity’s findings a calibration plaque was attached to the robot. Many geologists use pennies in determining the size of objects in photographs. A penny is placed in the picture while the photograph is being taken to show the scale based on the size of the coin.
To honor this tradition a penny was placed on the calibration plaque. The penny was specially selected by Ken Edgett. Edgett purchased a 1909 VDB penny for the plaque.
The 1909 VDB penny is the first year of the Lincoln Wheat Ear Cent and carries the initials of the coin designer Victor David Brenner. In 1909 the VDB initials were on the reverse at the base of the coin. After a public outcry, the initials were removed and later added next to Lincoln’s shoulder.
So as the Curiosity travels the terrain, Lincoln’s image wanders Mars.