"The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean... Recently, we've managed to wade a little way out, and the water seems inviting." - Carl Sagan
This is how a coin looks after 14 months on Mars
A high-power camera on the Mars Curiosity rover snapped a picture of a 1909 American penny featuring Abraham Lincoln. The coin is used as a calibration target for the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) that is at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm. In just over an Earth year on the Red Planet, you can see the bright copper is muted by lots of Mars dust.
Although the image has public relations appeal, there are scientific reasons behind picking that particular calibration target. It is supposed to measure how well the camera is performing, which is important as it zooms in on interesting features on Mars.
“The image shows that, during the penny’s 14 months (so far) on Mars, it has accumulated Martian dust and clumps of dust, despite its vertical mounting position,” the Planetary Science Institute stated.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Planetary Science Institute