New Zealand Stamps Dusted with Meteorite Particles

16 Apr 2019  Tue

New Zealand is going to honour the country’s astronauts and space experts by releasing five special postage stamps dusted with particles of a meteorite on 1st May. A souvenir sheet printed with lenticular 3D effect will also be released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

The five stamps are se-tenant in a vertical strip and are designed like a rocket. The nose cone of the rocket is a $1.20 domestic-rate stamp honouring the noted cosmologist Beatrice Hill Tinsley (1941-81). She became the first female professor of astronomy at Yale University in 1978. Meteor dust is affixed around the portrait on the stamp. A $1.20 stamp honours Alan Gilmore and Pamela Kilmartin who discovered 41 minor planets. A $2.40 stamp honours Charles Gifford (1861-1948) who is considered to be one of the greatest astronomers of New Zealand. He used mathematics to discover that the Moon’s craters were made by meteorite impact. A $3 stamp honours Albert Jones who is termed as a visual astronomer. He built his own telescope in 1948 and studied more than 500,000 stars. He discovered two comets and a supernova. Finally, the $3.60 denomination at the bottom part of the rocket depicts the rocket scientist William Pickering (1910-2004). He was the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., from 1954-76. He led several American missions to understand the moon and planets. The stamps were designed by Hannah Fortune while they were printed by Southern Colour Print of Dunedin by lithography with four process colours and ground meteor dust was applied to overgloss.

Four $4 stamps in two vertical se-tenant pairs are included in the 3D lenticular souvenir sheet. The bottom left stamp depicts the first moon walk on 20th July 1969, based on a photograph of astronaut Buzz Aldrin taken by Neil Armstong. The bottom right stamp features the lightweight craft Apollo Lunar Module. The upper right stamp commemorates the U.S. space shuttle program and Voyager 1 is featured on the upper left stamp. The sheet’s selvage features the Solar System, a comet, nebula and the galaxy with exoplanets, and the historical Electron rocket by Rocket Lab. The souvenir sheet was designed by Sam Taylor while they were printed by Cartor Security Printers by offset lithography with a lenticular 3D effect.

Image Courtesy: New Zealand Post

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