Categories: EarthMars

Here’s Your Chance To Help Blend Earth And Mars Rocks

The organizers of the World Space Week Association are working to create an “Earth Master Sample”, and they want your help. Anyone worldwide can send the association a fist-sized rock from their locale.

Next will come the interplanetary recipe magic: Once the samples arrive, a tiny bit of each rock will be procured and ground into a powder. The powder will be mixed together, with a dash of Mars meteorite added in. Next, a crystal company (Swarovski) will melt down the combination into 100 crystals.

These crystals will be shown off at Yuri’s Night celebrations on April 12, 2014; the event commemorates the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, which took place on that day in 1961. More importantly, the organizers said, the crystals will stand as a symbol of the importance of doing “planetary analog” research on Earth to better understand the conditions on other planets.

Earth and Mars are compared in size as they look today.

“By participating in the Earth Master Sample campaign, people can show their support for analog exploration and their aspiration to see Mars exploration continue through sample return missions and, eventually, human expeditions,” stated Remco Timmermans, the association’s executive director.

Here are the instructions (reproduced below verbatim from the association):

  1. Take a picture of the sample site and a scale (e.g. classmate, family member etc.) from at least 10m distance
  2. Take a close-up picture with a scale (e.g. hammer, pen, etc)
  3. Note your geographical location (e.g. 31°22.363 N 4°4.357 W)
  4. Take a fist-sized rock sample. (No soil samples, no sand please).
  5. Put the sample into a clean plastic bag. IMPORTANT: Label the sampling bag with: date (DD/MM/YY) + Time (HH:MM) + geographical coordinates. (e.g. 17AUG13 17:22, 47.234 N / 11.234 E)
  6. Send an email to edu@worldspaceweek.org listing the geographical location, the two pictures and the details of a contact person.
  7. Mail the rock-sample to: Austrian Space Forum / Earth Master Sample Project, Sillufer 3a, 6020 Innsbruck, AUSTRIA
  8. Deadline: 15. November 2013 (for arrival of rocks at the Austrian Space Forum)

This year, World Space Week runs from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10, 2013. The association will hold events at the Austrian Space Forum in Innsbruck, Austria. Here’s more information on their activities.

Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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