What We Do – The Story of One of Our Many Products
In the mid 1980s, NASA sent six large plates of 24 karat gold into space aboard the Space Shuttle. The gold, along with many other kinds of metals and materials, was installed outside of the International Space Station on a large test vehicle the size of a school bus. Called the NASA Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), the test was designed to measure the effects of exposure to the severe condition of outer space: extreme temperatures, a constant barrage of space particles, as well as potentially dangerous meteorites. This "space gold" remained in orbit for 69 months—over 5 1/2 years in outer space. During that time, this gold traveled over 625 million miles around the earth...at a speed of five miles per second!
This historic space gold was sent into orbit aboard the Challenger space shuttle, and was later brought back to earth aboard Columbia in early 1990. NASA retained the gold plates for study for the next 25 years following their return to earth. The gold was never intended to be made available to collectors.
These same gold plates which had reflected the moon's light daily for over five years in orbit were brought to auction by the government. The China Mint secured this gold and partnered with Bill Gale, president of GovMint.com, to create a special coin to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival.
Spectacular is definitely the right word, although you could certainly add in: historic, first-ever, unbelievable, and record-breaking too! Just consider the impressive specifications of this incredible proof: