The liftoff of NASA's Perseverance rover sparked the launch of a new collectible in celebration of the Mars 2020 mission.
Zippo, the iconic U.S. brand of reusable metal lighters, revealed its latest limited edition lighter in time with the start of NASA's first mission to search for and cache signs of microbial life on the Red Planet.
"Celebrating today's steps toward the future of Martian exploration," Zippo posted to its website on Thursday morning (July 30) as a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Mars Rover 2020 Collectible Lighter, which is only available through Zippo's online store, features a high-polish, black body with wireframe laser engravings depicting the Perseverance rover and Martian surface topography. The lighter also uses Zippo's new selective gold plating process to gild the Red Planet, casting a warm red Martian hue over the image.
The front of the lighter is inscribed "Mars 2020" between the gold-plated image of Mars and the wireframe surface design. The rover decorates the opposite side.
Limited to 1,000 consecutively-numbered pieces and packaged in a "luxury cube box," the Mars Rover 2020 Collectible Lighter retails for $125 each.
The Mars Rover 2020 Collectible Lighter continues a more than 50-year legacy of Zippo celebrating U.S. achievements in space. The company has made lighters with NASA and aerospace contractor designs dating back to the start of the space age.
Previous Zippo lighter designs have commemorated NASA's human spaceflight programs, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and the space shuttle. In particular, Zippo has been releasing lighters in celebration of the Apollo 11 first moon landing since the achievement was made in 1969, through 2019 for the mission's 50th anniversary.
The Mars 2020 mission, which is scheduled to land in Mars' Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021, includes the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter. The vehicles are designed to achieve several firsts, including sending the first sound recordings back from Mars, collecting the first samples for a future return to Earth and making the first powered flight on another planet.
The Perseverance rover is also the first spacecraft to support experiments directly aimed at advancing the day humans walk on Mars.
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