This is the most expensive penny in the Universe. It’s now on Mars, after an exciting $2.5 billion ride. Previously, the most expensive Lincoln penny in history was a 1943 copper-alloy cent that was sold for $1.7 million in a 1996 auction. That’s peanuts compared to the cost of putting this coin up there, however.
Of course, those $2.5 billion put a lot more stuff on Mars than just the penny. You know, like the best interplanetary robotic rover ever created by humankind.
In fact, if you take into account the total weight of Curiosity, the total cost of the penny is not that high: its 2.5 grams would only cost about $7,000. But being the first and only penny on Mars-and any other place outside Earth, as far as I know-I’m sure it would fetch a lot more than $1.7 million at any auction.
The penny is part of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera’s calibration target. The calibration target is attached to a shoulder joint of the arm that holds the camera, and contains red, green and blue color chips, different white point chips, a “metric standardized bar graphic and a stair-step pattern for depth calibration.”
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