History Center to send piece of Pittsburgh to the Moon
February 5, 2019
As the Senator John Heinz History Center begins the "Final Countdown" to the closing of the epic Smithsonian exhibition Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission on Feb. 18, the museum will look to the future of space travel by sending a piece of Pittsburgh to the Moon.
Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company founded by Carnegie Mellon University's Red Whittaker, is leading the charge in developing the latest technology for the next generation of space travel – just as Pittsburgh companies and innovators played a crucial role in the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission 50 years ago.
Through Astrobotic's MoonBox program, the History Center will send a small Pittsburgh keepsake to the Moon as part of the first commercial lunar landing, set for 2021. The payload will be delivered by Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander, which is currently on display in the Destination Moon exhibit.
• Heinz Pickle Pin – H.J. Heinz came up with this ingenious promotional item during the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
• Soil from Moon Park in Moon Township, Pa. – Founded in 1788, Moon Township is the oldest township in Allegheny County. Some historians suggest its lunar name came from its proximity to a crescent-shaped portion of the Ohio River.
• Piece of a Steelers Terrible Towel – With six Super Bowl championships, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the greatest franchise in NFL history.
• Photo of Toni Haggerty from Primanti Bros. – No visit to Pittsburgh is complete without a stop to see Toni at Primanti Bros. in the Strip District. Primanti's signature sandwich (meat + fries + coleslaw + Italian bread) was invented as an affordable and practical meal for truck drivers and factory workers during the early 20th century.
• Kennywood Token – Founded in 1898 as a small trolley park, Kennywood Park has thrilled millions of visitors with its unique blend of state-of-the-art and death-defying rides with a nostalgic atmosphere.
• Mister Rogers' "Won't You Be My Neighbor" song (on micro SD card) – Fred Rogers sung the iconic "Won't You Be My Neighbor" song at the beginning of each episode of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," which made its national debut on Feb. 19, 1968.
• Write-in your own choice! – Pittsburghers will also have the option to write-in which object they think should be sent to the Moon.
Voting is open at http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/MoonBox now through Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The History Center will announce the winning entry during the final week of Destination Moon, which closes on Monday, Feb. 18.