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Fan introductions left for Martians.

Colorado earthlings are leaving their imprint on Mars as NASA's two exploration rovers inch along opposite sides of the planet. Preparing for the launches last summer, a company called Plasmon, based in England but with operations in Colorado Springs and Englewood, created a time capsule of sorts for any Martians who might wander by the machines in the next 500 years.

The "time capsule" is shaped liked a DVD but made out of silica glass to withstand extreme temperatures and durable enough to last five centuries. Mounted on the lander petals of both rovers, the disks contain the names of 4 million Mars enthusiasts collected by NASA.

Plasmon made the disks for the Planetary Society's "Red Rover Goes to Mars" educational project. A maker of electronic archival storage solutions, the company is based in Cambridge, but most of its 500 employees work in Colorado.

NASA also is using a tape library provided by Spectra Logic of Boulder. Spectra Logic's T950 tape library with LTO-2 tape drives enable NASA to back up space, aircraft and other scientific data. And Boulder engineer Kurt Lankford isn't alive to see it, but a thermal switch he invented is being used to regulate the temperatures of the rovers' batteries through the hot days and freezing nights on Mars. Lankford died in September 2002 of a heart attack at 43. To honor his contribution, NASA inscribed his name along with about 50 other key contributors on a panel inside the rover Spirit.
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Title Annotation:Ebuzz; Plasmon Inc.
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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