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Coins! In! SPAAAAACE!


ikaros
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Taking a nod from geologists' use of coins in images to show scale, Mars Odyssey has brought quite a nice 1909 VDB cent to image for calibration purposes:

 

0034MH0045001000E1pro-br.jpg

 

Is this the first coin sent to another planet? And I'd like to know how they decontaminated it without disturbing the patina.

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Either a dip or soaking in something like alcohol or sealed in acrylic. One thing to note here though is it would not have to go through the same decontamination procedures as the drill bits. Things that would not touch Mars material did not have to be as clean. The main thing they were worried about there was pulling a sample and being contaminated by earth material. Think about if they did not catch the mistake. Pull up a sample, find cellular activity, make an announcement and then realize it was due to earth microbes. Just wonder how many tests are canceled due to the problem.

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Wow... As much as I like satellite/spaceship engineering stuff, I never realized the reason they were the clean suits is to prevent false positives! I just figured the electronics were so sensitive, even a piece of lint is a no go.

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It's both+. Lint and other contaminants can cause problems. But the box with the drill bits were supposed to be sterile. It's all according to what the need is for. According to what type tests they expect to run it could effect the outcome.

 

BTW side note. Worked on some equipment one time at a company that did aerospace work. They brought us in to a curtained off area. Not clean room or even close. But we only got to see a nondescript block of metal. It was just drilled and tapped but not the real equipment. We did our work on it and they did tell us when we were finished it was going through some kind of 5 step decontamination procedure. No clue as to where or what it was. That was secret. Kind of neat.

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I read somewhere that the cent was donated by an employee working on that section of the Odyssey.

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It's both+. Lint and other contaminants can cause problems. But the box with the drill bits were supposed to be sterile. It's all according to what the need is for. According to what type tests they expect to run it could effect the outcome.

 

BTW side note. Worked on some equipment one time at a company that did aerospace work. They brought us in to a curtained off area. Not clean room or even close. But we only got to see a nondescript block of metal. It was just drilled and tapped but not the real equipment. We did our work on it and they did tell us when we were finished it was going through some kind of 5 step decontamination procedure. No clue as to where or what it was. That was secret. Kind of neat.

 

Thanks for reminding me... I need to apply to some aerospace companies.

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