Never forget -- even on Mars.
While NASA's rovers on the red planet have been carrying out their missions of exploration, they've also been carrying keepsakes from one of the darkest days in American history, honoring the thousands who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
Pieces of metal on Spirit and Opportunity's rock-abrasion tools were created from a single piece of aluminum taken from the site of the World Trade Center, according to the
The inspiration for the imagery and tribute came from engineers at JPL and Honeybee Robotics, the company who was in the middle of creating tools for the Mars rovers in lower Manhattan when tragedy struck.
According to JPL, Honeybee Robotics worked with the New York mayor's office, a metal-working shop in Texas; JPL itself and the rover missions' science leader, Steve Squyres, at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. to make the tribute a reality.
"It's gratifying knowing that a piece of the World Trade Center is up there on Mars. That shield on Mars, to me, contrasts the destructive nature of the attackers with the ingenuity and hopeful attitude of Americans," said Stephen Gorevan, Honeybee founder and chairman, and a member of the Mars rover science team, in a released statement.