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Help the Heinz History Center pick a piece of Pittsburgh to send to the Moon

Jamie Martines
686139astrobotic
A mock up of Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander, which it intends to use for its first mission to the moon in 2019. The Strip District-based space delivery company shot photos of the lander at the LaFarge Duquesne Slag in West Mifflin and only edited the sky to include the Earth in the background.

What’s smaller than a quarter and representative of the City of Pittsburgh?

That’s for you to decide.

The Heinz History Center and Pittsburgh-based robotics company Astrobotic wants your help choosing an item to be sent to the Moon through Astrobotic’s MoonBox program. The small keepsakes, which should represent the spirit and history of Pittsburgh, will be sent to the Moon during the first commercial lunar landing, scheduled for 2021.

Astrobotic is a lunar delivery company that flies items into space for businesses, governments and universities. It was founded by Carnegie Mellon University researcher Red Wittaker in 2007 and is now based in the Strip District.

Vote for which item you think should be sent to the Moon to represent Pittsburgh — or write in your own idea — on the Heinz History Center website. Though it doesn’t matter how much the object weighs, it must be smaller than a quarter in order to comply with the MoonBox guidelines. The bigger the item, the more fuel it requires to launch into space, according to a list of frequently asked questions on the MoonBox program site. Smaller items are cheaper to send to the Moon.

The objects will be stored in a MoonBox Pod attached to Astrobotic’s Lander on the Moon, according to the MoonBox program site.

Items already on the ballot include:

  • Heinz Pickle Pin
  • Soil from Moon Park in Moon Township, Pennsylvania
  • Piece of a Steelers Terrible Towel
  • Photo of Toni Haggerty from Primanti Bros.
  • City of Pittsburgh flag pin
  • Kennywood token
  • Mister Rogers’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” song, on a micro SD card

The winner will be announced during the final week of the Heinz History Center’s “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” exhibit, which closes Monday, Feb. 18.

The exhibit commemorates the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which put astronaut Neil Armstrong on the Moon on July 20, 1969.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.