I had lunch with former Krause Publications colleagues Clifford Mishler and Fred Borgmann yesterday at the Crystal Cafe here in Iola, Wis.
At the table, Clifford slid a clipping from USA Today my way that reports on the scheduled Aug. 6 landing of the Mars rover Curiosity.
He thought I would be interested because one little tidbit of information related to coinage.
The rover has what is called the Mars Hand Lens Imager instrument. To properly focus it, aboard is a 1909 cent.
The photograph showed a well preserved cent. Though from a tiny photo on newsprint, it could be anywhere from AU-58 to MS-65. It was hard to judge.
I have to admit I have not been paying attention to the new rover mission.
There is something sad about the necessity of needing a coin aboard a spacecraft to Mars to garner my attention.
I read Ray Bradbury when I was a kid, including the Martian Chronicles. When I was even younger I had read the many adventures of Tom Corbett, space cadet. I watched space launches from John Glenn in 1962 to the landing on the moon July 20, 1969.
Space then began a long slide down the ladder of my interests. Where it rates now exactly I cannot even say.
I checked out the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology website. While marveling at how much information is at our fingertips nowadays, I felt another pang of sadness that even on this website there has to be a button for kids labeled “Fun.”
How far we have come from the days when I would have considered any information about space to be fun.
Fortunately for me, my interest in all things numismatic has not diminished over the years. I guess that makes me a numismatic rover.