London: A century-old coin which is currently on Mars, helping NASA`s Curiosity rover explore the surface of the red planet is being hailed as the most valuable penny in the universe.
The coin, one of the first batch of Lincoln pennies ever minted, is a tool to help scientists calibrate the hi-tech cameras of the rover.
It is part of the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera, pictures of which have recently been beamed back from Mars.
Even though Curiosity has other, more sophisticated calibrators, NASA has still included the penny in homage to the scientific custom.
And this penny is not just any coin - it was minted in 1909, when the Lincoln design was first instituted on the 100th anniversary of the Great Emancipator.
The coin is a ``VDB cent``, marked with the initials of its designer Victor David Brenner.
It was bought for Curiosity by MAHLI engineer Ken Edgett, who personally donated it to the Mars mission.