More countries are operating spacecrafts on and around Mars than ever before! These important missions are revealing interesting secrets about our solar system, climate, and possibly the origins of life.
To celebrate this momentous human achievement, the United Nations have honored the Red Planet with their latest release of postage stamps. The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) recently issued six commemorative stamps and three souvenir sheets, themed to Mars missions launched by the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Mars has been a source of curiosity for centuries. In a historic year for exploration, three missions reached their destinations on, and around, the ‘Red Planet’ in 2021. This stamp series marks those pioneering achievements,” UNPA officials wrote in a press release.
What are the stamps depicting?
The new “Planet Mars” collection commemorates huge achievements in interplanetary exploration. Two of the stamps and a souvenir sheet, celebrate the Emirates Mars Mission, the nation’s first interplanetary adventure which arrived in Mars’ orbit on February 9th, 2021.
Another two stamps and a souvenir sheet were dedicated to two NASA missions: Mars 2020 and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. These images feature the Perseverance rover and the dunes in the Proctor Crater. The souvenir sheet depicts the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which was the first piece of human technology to take flight on another world.
The remaining stamps and souvenir sheets focus on China’s Tianwen 1 mission. Features are the Zhurong rover, its landing platform, and the area where both landed. This machine has been roaming around the Martian planet since May 14th, 2021, searching for pockets of water beneath the surface which may contain life.
Collaboration is key
“As humankind races toward Mars, it is important that countries work together to promote international cooperation and peaceful use and exploration of space, and in the utilization of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development. Since 1958, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) works to promote these objectives,” explained UNPA officials.
The Planet Mars commemoratives can be ordered from the UNPA website or purchased at UN headquarters in New York, Vienna, and Geneva. As well as the stamps, collectible envelopes are also on sale.