Sunday, 24 February 2013

Lift Off to the Red Planet

Cuba celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Cuban Postal Rocket Experiment with various rockets and satellites stamp sheets in 1964. These are four stamps which originally would have made up a corner of the sheet, as you see these are franked so no longer part of a sheet. I think they portray different versions of Sputnik.  I know the one on the top left is Sputnik 3 because there is a Sputnik 3 enthusiast out there in cyberspace who has listed all the stamps featuring it.   The one on the top right is the distinctive shape of  Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite in history launched in 1957 by the USSR, it was polished to a high sheen to enable it to be tracked by telescope and was enthusiastically tracked by both radio and visual amateur astronomers around the world.

I show these stamps because they depict  our home planet with the satellites beeping their way around it, oh and it has a red background. Wondering about the Postal Rocket?  It was an experiment by the Cuban constructor Antonio Funes and Dr Tomas A Terry, president of the Cuban National Philatelic Club in 1939.  The latter was the driving force and the rockets carried first day covers but being propelled by gunpowder and also being unstable they did not produce practical results.  What a shame, just think of all the traffic that would have been kept off the road, I can just imagine giant rockets flying from post office to post office however
Inauguration ceremony of Cuban Postal Rocket
perhaps this rocket is just a little smaller than I imagined. There is one of the original rockets on display in the Cuban Postal Museum.
Oh yes lets show a proper NASA rocket with the space shuttle attached ready to launch. This Maxi card stamp shows a launch site on Mars with the space shuttle taking off while in the foreground a surveyor works with his robot assistant. The stamp is part of the miniature sheet "Exploration of Mars" for Australia's Stamp Collecting Month in October 2000.
Illustrator: Otto Schmidinger Designer; Beth McKinlay
 What else could they publicise this with but "Stamp Collecting is Out of This World".  I'll agree with that as we visit the red planet.  The sheet shows a colony situated inside Olympus Mons, a 24 km high volcano, the rim of which is in the background as well as Mars' two moons Phobos and Deimos.

The stamps starting on the left show 1) an astronaut making a free fall entry from a cruise ship above her. She controls her descent using a personal thruster. 2) Skimmer craft leaving the cruise-ship 3) Flight crew are escorting two remote controlled cargo skimmer vessels 4) launch site as the maxi card 5) Terrain stamp shows two domed cities with a reservoir between with water being piped from Mars north pole and lastly on the far right 6) robots cleaning the kelp rods. The rods are filled with kelp and algae which is adding oxygen to the atmosphere. The rods are flexible so they can withstand the high winds on Mars.

I like the concept of this sheet showing what can be imagined and known at this point in time. Mars is not a very hospitable place, besides the cold (an average of  -65 degrees Celsius or -85 Fahrenheit) the surface receives high levels of radiation.  It is imagined colonist would either use caves or the geodesic domes shown on the stamp sheet.  In the long term Mars could be terraformed to become an Earth like planet perhaps by releasing carbon dioxide locked under the polar caps by heating it with orbital mirrors.  This would liberate water to fall as rain and raise the atmospheric pressure, eventually allowing microbes and plants to grow.

"Mars is there, waiting to be reached" Buzz Aldrin (astronaut)

The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program. And if we become extinct because we don't have a space program, it'll serve us right!" Larry Niven (author)

An entry to Viridian Postcard's Sunday Stamps.  This week's theme - Space, Exploration and Planets


Bob Scotney said...

Thanks for showing these great stamps.

viridian said...

What a great sheet of stamps from Australia. My mind is now on a flight of fancy to Mars. thank you for sharing these.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Two very different sets but each wonderful in its own way. Rocket post conjures up some lovely images. :)

Ana said...

My jaw dropped at that miniature sheet! It is just awesome! Btw, interesting to see Cuba involved in such a cool experiment :)

VioletSky said...

I quite like that Cuban series, but you definitely saved the best for last with the Australian sheet!!
I have been following NASAJPL and Curiosity Rover and her digging around the Martian landscape on twitter.

Sreisaat said...

Awesome stamps! I find it interesting that the background of the Cuban se-tenant stamps is red :)

Postcards Crossing

♥♥ Willa ♥♥ said...

Your stamps from Australia are simply amazing!!!

My Sunday Stamps:Moon,Space,Exploration