When the space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth on Sunday, few people knew it was carrying a volume owned by the MIT Libraries – our first book to orbit the Earth.
Astronaut and alumnus Mike Massimino (M.S. 1988, Mechanical Engineer 1990, Ph.D. 1992), through contact with MIT Professor Dava J. Newman, offered to “fly” a book from the Libraries’ collection. Because this NASA mission to repair the Hubble was scheduled to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope, the Libraries decided to send into space a numbered, limited-edition facsimile of Galileo’s landmark 1610 publication Siderius Nuncius, in which he announced his discovery of, among other things, four of Jupiter’s moons.
The MIT Libraries look forward to welcoming Dr. Massimino back for a visit in the fall. We also look forward to displaying our space-travelling Siderius Nuncius – known in English, appropriately enough, as The Starry Messenger.