In February 2009, my closest friend and teacher died in a hospital of surgical complications. He was an exceptional person, a seeker and disseminator of knowledge, worthy of the grandest kind of memorial – but grand wasn’t really his style. Even so, I felt compelled to find some way to outwardly acknowledge him in a fitting manner. As time passed, I found a couple of opportunities to do so.
First, I set up a small, monthly automatic donation in his name to a highly-regarded institution of esoteric learning.
Later, I ran across a news item saying that NASA was collecting names to etch on a microchip to be attached to the next rover sent to Mars. It couldn’t have been more perfect. So, I entered his name and saved the site-generated certificate, not knowing when all this roving was actually going to happen.
Well … Curiosity is now on Mars, busily zapping away at rocks and such. On board is the microchip with my friend’s name (and many others) etched into it. Attached to this post are the certificate and a NASA photo showing the chip itself.
Here is the NASA story containing the borrowed chip photo: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/08/curiositys-secrets/?pid=4628
I know if he were really on Mars, the first thing he’d do is draw a smiley face where Curiosity could find it, then sneak off giggling to wait for the inevitable furor over where it came from.
Happy trails, Ray.