I ran across a fascinating historical footnote in the May issue of Sky and Telescope I feel should be much more widely known.
The builder of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers was a small Manhattan company named Honeybee Robotics. The company offices are just a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, so it hardly bears saying the engineers were deeply affected by the events of 9/11.
They paid their respects in an unusual and touching way. With assistance of the Mayor’s office they acquired bits of mangled aluminium debris from the site. The engineers pounded and formed them into cable shielding parts.
Those bits of the World Trade Center have now been roving Mars for two years.