Monday, December 22, 2008

High-altitude holiday gift: Mariner 9 Mars Globe

A few days ago the blog SF Signal had a wonderful suggestion for a holiday gift: a Celestial Globe of the Earth that, when the lights go down, displays the 88 constellations of the night sky in a cool blue hue. Now, the used and rare book site AbeBooks has a listing for another, slightly more expensive, globe that the space entrepreneur, NASA administrator, or planetary adventurer in your family might enjoy as a holiday gift: the Mariner 9 Mars Globe.
Mariner 9 Mars Globe

Description: (MARS - MARINER 9) NASA. The Many Faces of Mars: 16" Visual-Relief Mariner 9 Mars Globe. Chicago, IL (globe); Pasadena, CA (booklet): National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1973. Original globe, measures 16 inches in diameter, resting on original wooden stand; accompanying quarto booklet, pp. [13], original wrappers. $7500. First edition of the globe produced by NASA incorporating the results of the photography and data collected by the Mariner 9 spacecraft. NASA launched Mariner 9 toward Mars on May 30, 1971. The unmanned spacecraft reached the red planet on November 13 of the same year ... "Mariner 9 exceeded all primary photographic requirements by photo-mapping 100 percent of the planet's surface" (NASA). The crucial findings underpinned the later Viking program. Mariner 9 completed its final transmission on October 27, 1972; this globe and supplement were published in December, 1973. The probe remains in stable orbit around Mars until at least 2022. After analysis of the results of Mariner 9, NASA tentatively selected potential landing sites for the Viking probes which were intended to soft-land instrument packages onto Mars in 1976. NASA selected four potential landing sites for the two Viking probes ... These four sites are indicated on the globe with adhesive decals, as issued (NASA had selected the sites by July, 1973). Small typed label indicating where Viking Lander 1 touched down (most likely affixed by a previous owner). Fine condition.

Price: $7,500
Interestingly, NASA's website appears to have a picture of the same globe, displayed above, which, apparently, the space agency uses
for exhibition purposes. According to NASA, its globe is valued for insurance purposes at $165.

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