Other Durrance mission: Bring back souvenirs!


You know how it is. You go on a trip and everybody wants you to bring him or her a souvenir.

Astronomer Sam Durrance is going to be orbiting the Earth for 10 days at 18,000 mph, so he's packing an appropriately elaborate bundle of souvenirs:

* A 10,000 year-old arrowhead found in the Sahara by Johns Hopkins University astronomer Richard Henry while on an astronomy mission. After the mission, the arrowhead will be presented to the Johns Hopkins Space Grant Consortium.

* 500 bookmarks stamped with Baltimore's "The City that Reads" logo. They'll be presented to Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.

* A diffraction grating -- a piece of glass used to separate light into its component wavelengths -- engraved with the university seal, will be given to the Department of Physics and Astronomy after the mission. The grating was originally a gift to the university on the 100th anniversary of the birth of professor Henry Rowland, the "father of astronomy" at Hopkins.

* Medallions: a gold one to be presented to the Mount Wilson/Las Campanas observatories, and a silver one for Research Support Instruments, a Maryland firm that helped build the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope that Durrance will be operating in space.

* An American flag for presentation to Havenwood Presbyterian Church in Lutherville, Durrance's congregation.

* A space shuttle charm for Durrance's wife, Rebecca, and rings for their son Benjamin, 8 and daughter, Susan, 5.

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