12 September 2011
Posted in Our Planet, Our Universe
Nearing the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, planet Mars serves as a memorial to those lost that tragic day in 2001. Two aluminum shields were fashioned out of scraps of metal from both tower 1 and tower 2 of the World Trade Center, and attached to NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity Rovers in 2003. The shields are adorned with an American flag and are designed to protect cables on the Rover’s rock abrasion tools, also known as RAT’s.
The Rover’s new tribute tools were made by Stephen Gorevan, founder and chairman of Honeybee Robotics whose offices are actually located less than a mile away from ground zero. “It’s gratifying knowing that a piece of the World Trade Center is up there on Mars,” says Gorevan. “That shield on Mars, to me, contrasts the destructive nature of the attackers with the ingenuity and hopeful attitude of Americans.”
Fellow Honeybee engineer Tom Myrick hand delivered the scrap pieces to a shop in Texas that had already been working on other RAT components. There, the scraps were turned into the shields that are no larger than a credit card.
The Honeybee team never intended to publicly announce the memorial when it was launched back in 2004. Gorevan stated, “It was intended to be a quiet tribute. Enough time has passed. We want the families to know”
NASA believes that even after the Rover’s stop functioning, the memorial pieces could remain in good condition for millions of years!