Feature

NASA and the National Federation of the Blind Celebrate Release of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar
10.16.09
 
Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Limited Edition 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar. Credit: United States Mint.

NASA Associate Administrator Chris Scolese, left, and Mark Riccobono, executive director of the Jernigan Institute of the National Federation of the Blind NASA Associate Administrator Chris Scolese, left, presented Mark Riccobono, executive director of the Jernigan Institute of the National Federation of the Blind a Braille-inscribed award with two Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollars flown on Atlantis' STS-125 mission. Credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers.
Click image to enlarge.
To commemorate the United States Mint's release of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar and to recognize the critical role that Braille plays in the pursuit of careers in math and science by the blind, NASA's STS-125 mission flew two of the coins aboard during the Hubble Servicing Mission. This commemorative coin, only available until Dec. 11, 2009, is the first U.S. coin to have readable Braille on it and is a testament to the importance of Braille in the lives of the blind people.

Associate Administrator Chris Scolese presented them to Mark Riccobono, executive director of the Jernigan Institute of the National Federation of the Blind during the closing ceremony of the NFB Youth Slam--the largest gathering of blind students and mentors brought together to inspire and engage blind youth in science, technology, engineering and math.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille's birthday, Congress authorized the minting of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar. The coins are the first to feature tactile, readable Braille, which enables the blind to read and learn, just as Hubble allows people to learn about the universe.

As authorized by Congress, the United States Braille coin will fund efforts by the National Federation of the Blind to reverse the Braille literacy crisis in America. After Dec. 11, any unsold coins are melted down.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "This is an exciting moment because the general public has the chance to buy a piece of history -- a coin that not only represents knowledge and empowerment for blind people but that also [visited] the Hubble Space Telescope."

NASA astronaut Gregory H. Johnson will speak at the celebratory closing of the National Federation of the Blind's 2009 Youth Slam. At the Youth Slam, 200 blind high school students from across the nation will participate in five days of activities to help encourage the blind youth of America to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

NASA and the National Federation of the Blind have been collaborating for more than five years to inspire and engage blind students to lend their unique talents to disciplines critical to the nation's engineering, scientific and technical missions.

For more information about the National Federation of the Blind, visit: http://www.nfb.org.

To learn more about the coin, visit Louis Braille Commemorative Coin.