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UK-2012-Space Science

In celebration of Britain’s contributions to space discovery and exploration, Royal Mail is issuing a set of six special stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of Britain’s first launch into the final frontier.

Britain joined the space age with the launch of Ariel 1 on 26 April 1962. Since then, much of the UK’s space exploration has been performed through the European Space Agency (ESA). It is from missions conducted by the ESA that all six of the stunning images featured in the Space Science stamp issue are taken. They include the cavernous craters of Mars (77p), the beautiful rings of Saturn (£1.28) and the burning intensity of our closest star, the Sun (1st class).

Also featured in the stamp set are images of the Lutetia asteroid (77p), Saturn’s largest moon, Titan (£1.28) and our planetary neighbour, Venus (1st Class), bringing the planets, stars and satellites we gaze up at each night, right onto our doorsteps in vivid beauty.

For centuries, astronomers have studied the planets and moons of the solar system with telescopes firmly fixed on planet earth. Since the beginning of the space age, spacecraft have become windows to distant worlds and bringing the far reaches of our solar system into focus. These investigations have provided mystery and beauty allowing comparisons between Earth and other planets that orbit the sun.

Royal Mail stamps issue