By David Hartwig
Three recent missions to destinations on and around Mars marked a historic period of exploration of the Red Planet. An April 24 issue of the United Nations Postal Administration celebrates these achievements.
The Planet Mars set includes six stamps (two for each UN post office), each in sheets of 10, and three sheetlets offering three additional stamps (one for each UN post office).
“As Earth’s inseparable celestial companion, Mars has been a source of curiosity to mankind since time immemorial,” UNPA said in a press release. “The space community has long strived to uncover the mysteries of Mars and has made exceptional strides in 2021.”
Stamps for use at the UN Headquarters Post Office in New York feature the Proctor Crater of Mars on the 58¢ face value and the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover on the $1.30 stamp. The souvenir sheet, also denominated at $1.30, shows the Mars 2020 Ingenuity Helicopter.
The image of the Proctor crater on the 58¢ stamp is from a February 9, 2009 photo taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, according to NASA.
The Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter landed on Mars on February 18, 2021, as part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars 2020 mission. The goal of the mission, which is expected to last at least a year on Mars (about 687 days on Earth), is to collect rock and soil samples while searching for signs of ancient life on the planet, according to the A PA.
Stamps for use at the UN Post Office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, show an image of Mars on the 1.10 franc stamp, preparations for the launch of the Emirates Mars mission on the 1 stamp .50 fr and the hope of the United Arab Emirates. To be probed on the souvenir sheet 2fr.
United Arab Emirates Hope Probe took the photo on the 1.10fr stamp. The probe, which just entered Mars orbit on February 9, 2022, is studying the planet’s atmosphere and climate, according to UNPA.
“During Hope’s first year, the orbiter confirmed the existence of a faint aurora, a highly localized atmospheric phenomenon on the night side of the planet, and noted clouds bearing light. growing and shrinking daily,” UNPA said.
Stamps for use at the Vienna International Center post office in Vienna, Austria, show elements of Tianwen-1, the first Mars mission for the China Nations Space Administration (CNSA).
The €0.85 stamp depicts the preselected landing zone for the Tianwen-1 mission, the €1 stamp features the Zhurong Rover operating on Mars, and the Zhurong Rover landing pad is depicted on the block- leaflet at €1.80.
The Tianwen-1 mission consists of an orbiter, two deployable cameras, a lander, a remote camera and the Zhurong Rover. According to the UNPA, the purpose of the mission is both to explore the surface of Mars and to orbit around the planet. The mission landed on the surface of Mars on May 15, 2021.
UNPA set out important goals for space exploration in its stamps press release: “As humanity rushes to Mars, it is important that countries work together to promote international cooperation and the use and peaceful exploration of space, and in the use of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development.
These goals, according to the UNPA, are promoted by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. This office acts as the administrative organization of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, according to the organization’s website.
UNPA has previously issued stamps related to peace in outer space. In 2018, UNPA honored UNISPACE+50, the 50th anniversary celebration of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space with a set of six stamps and three souvenir sheets (Scott New York 1196-1198, Geneva 653-655, Vienna 623-625).
The United Nations’ Sergio Baradat designed the new Mars stamps using images provided by the Emirate Mars Mission Team, CNSA and NASA with support from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Cartor Security Printing of France printed the stamps by hexachrome offset in the following quantities: 19,000 flaps each of the 58¢, $1.30, 1.10fr and 1.50fr stamps; and 29,500 panels each of €0.85 and €1 stamps. Each stamp measures 30 millimeters by 40 mm.
The souvenir sheets were printed at 25,000 for the $1.30 and 2fr sheets and at 82,000 for the €1.80 sheet. The souvenir sheets measure 82mm by 82mm each with 44mm by 44mm stamps.
UNPA hosted a pre-launch ceremony for the stamps on April 23 at the Westpex Stamp Show in San Francisco.
For information on ordering these new Mars stamps and related products, visit the UNPA website; email [email protected]; phone 212-963-7684 or 800-234-8672; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.
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