“Star Wars” may have captured the imagination of moviegoers in late 2015, but fans of another popular science fiction franchise, “Star Trek,” need not fret: They, along with US snail mail recipients and stamp collectors, may get a treat in 2016.
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said the US Postal Service would honor NASA planetary discoveries and the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek” with its stamps for 2016.
“US Postal stamps express the enthusiasm and personality of senders to favorite themes in our society. From Mercury to Neptune, Pluto and Star Trek, it’s exciting to see that planetary science and space exploration are being celebrated in these new 2016 stamps,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for science in Washington.
NASA also said the US Postal Service’s stamps this year would include a “do-over” of a stamp marking the historic flyby of Pluto by NASA New Horizons in 2015.
It said that while NASA placed a 29-cent 1991 “Pluto: Not Yet Explored” stamp in “New Horizons,” the spacecraft carried the stamp on its mission to Pluto in 2015.
“With this stamp, the Postal Service recognizes the first reconnaissance of Pluto in 2015 by NASA’s New Horizon mission,” NASA said.
Other 2016 stamps the US Postal Service previewed included:
* Planets Stamps: Showcase the “visually compelling historic, full-disk” images of the planets obtained during the last 50 years of space exploration. Eight new colorful Forever stamps, each shown twice, feature Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
* Moon Stamps: Taken as the full moon rises. The Global Forever stamp is issued for $1.20, and can be used to mail a one-ounce letter to any country to which First-Class Mail International service is available.
The “Star Trek” stamps mark the 50th anniversary of the TV premiere, and showcase illustrations inspired by the show, including:
-the USS Enterprise inside the outline of a Starfleet insignia against a gold background
– the silhouette of a crewman in a transporter against a red background
– the silhouette of the Enterprise from above against a green background
– the Enterprise inside the outline of the Vulcan statue against a blue background
NASA said the Pluto stamps were of “special significance” to it and the New Horizons team, which placed a 29-cent 1991 “Pluto: Not Yet Explored” stamp on board “New Horizons.”
When “New Horizons” carried the postage stamp on its flyby last July, members of the mission team celebrated with a large print, striking out the words “not yet.”
“The souvenir sheet of four stamps contains two new stamps appearing twice. The first stamp shows an artist’s rendering of NASA’s New Horizons Pluto flyby spacecraft and the second shows the spacecraft’s enhanced color image of Pluto taken by New Horizons near its closest approach to Pluto,” NASA said.
The enhanced view is a composite of images from New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and color data from the imaging instrument Ralph.
The “Pluto Explored!” stamps will be dedicated in late May at the World Stamp Show in New York.