December 8, 1997


NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission to the red planet will be commemorated on a postage stamp to be issued this week.

The $3 stamp will be issued first on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. The second day of issue will be Thursday, Dec. 11 at Kennedy Space Center. A ceremony featuring Titusville Postmaster Ed Link and Floyd Curington, director, Expendable Launch Vehicles, will be held at 11 a.m. at Spaceport Theater, KSC Visitor's Complex.

The stamp depicts the Sojourner rover at rest on the Pathfinder spacecraft with a panoramic Martian view that is based on one of the first mission images sent back to Earth. Commemorative stamp cancellations will be available after the ceremony.

Stamp News Release Number 97-096

November 12, 1997

USPS Hompegae


WASHINGTON, Mars Pathfinder, which brought spectacular images of the "Red Planet" to Earth, will conduct its next mission on the surface of a U.S. postage stamp.

The U.S. Postal Service announced today it will issue a $3 Priority Mail stamp commemorating the historic Mars Pathfinder mission. The stamp will be officially dedicated in a ceremony at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. on December 10.

"As one of the most significant achievements in the history of America's space program, it is fitting that the Pathfinder Mission be honored on a U.S. postage stamp," said Postmaster General Marvin Runyon. "When this stamp lands in stamp collections or on Priority Mail pieces nationwide, it will be a reminder of the unmatched ingenuity that leads the world in space exploration."

Based on the first image received from the Mars Pathfinder after its landing on the Martian surface July 4, 1997, the stamp features the Sojourner rover resting on the Pathfinder with a panoramic view of the Ares Vallis region of Mars in the background. Informational text about the Pathfinder mission is printed on the reverse of the stamp sheet. Fifteen million of the stamps have been printed.

"That first historic image of Pathfinder and the rover sitting safely on Mars ignited worldwide interest in our efforts to explore Mars," said JPL Director Dr. Edward C. Stone. "It is an honor for this mission to be recognized by issuance of this special U.S. postage stamp."

The Mars Pathfinder stamp is the third U.S. stamp subject to incorporate hidden images to prevent counterfeiting, while adding an interesting design element. The hidden text -- Mars Pathfinder, July 4, 1997 and the letters USPS --is not visible to the naked eye but can be viewed by using a decoder lens, which is available through the Postal Service's Philatelic Fulfillment Center in Kansas City, MO. The U.S. Air Force and Classic Movie Monsters stamps issued earlier this year also feature hidden images.

Since its Independence Day landing, Pathfinder has returned 2.6 billion bits of information, including more than 16,500 images, as well as chemical analyses of rocks and extensive data on winds and other weather factors. After operating on the surface of Mars three times longer than expected, the mission began winding down last week as daily communications with the lander and rover were officially halted.