US Stamps

By Charles Snee

Here’s to putting more stamps in space

July 13, 2015 04:56 PM

  • A United States 29¢ Space Exploration booklet stamp depicting Pluto is aboard the NASA New Horizons probe that is nearing the former ninth planet of our solar system. Other U.S. stamps have escaped the bonds of Earth, but no stamp has traveled farther.

It’s fitting that a stamp is hurtling toward the farthest reaches of our solar system.

As Linn’s associate editor Mike Baadke reported last week, a United States 1991 29¢ Space Exploration booklet stamp depicting Pluto is aboard the NASA New Horizons probe.

New Horizons was launched Jan. 19, 2006, and is scheduled to make its closest approach to our former ninth planet sometime during the morning hours of July 15.

Team leaders and others involved with the New Horizons mission found the 29¢ stamp an astronomical call to arms, so to speak, because of the words printed on it: Pluto Not Yet Explored.

That is about to change, and I am pleased that the stamp is along for the ride.

At least I hope it’s still affixed to the probe.

What if it came off during the long journey, forever fated to circle the sun as a fragile remnant from planet Earth?

Perhaps NASA should have also affixed an additional 10¢ postage, to cover the increase in first-class postage at the time New Horizons rocketed toward the heavens.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that U.S. stamps have traveled in space. We’ve sent them to the moon, and they’ve been carried aboard the space shuttle.

But certainly no stamp has traveled farther than the one aboard New Horizons, while providing some great visibility to our multifaceted hobby.

For the next trip into space that will go beyond the reaches of our solar system, I propose sending along a philatelic history of mankind, using stamps from around the world. Maybe even throw in a cover or two.

After all, stamps facilitated communication all over the world — long before email, text messages and video conferences.

How about it, NASA? Are you up to the challenge?