Four ospreys in the Highlands have had their names migrated to Mars by Nasa
Louis and Aila were raising their chicks Mallie and Rannoch at Woodland Trust Scotland’s Loch Arkaig Pine Forest near Fort William in 2019 when the space agency opened up submissions for its PerseveranceRover mission.
It caught the eye of Linda Keene, of Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, who put the four’s names forward to Nasa and received a boarding pass for the flight.
George Anderson, of Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “The Loch Arkaig ospreys became very famous last year when they became a lockdown hit with people stuck at home desperate to connect with nature.
“We never thought their fame would stretch as far away as another planet though.
“We are very touched that Linda has celebrated the birds in this way.”
The mission blasted off in summer 2020 and in the last few days the Perseverance Rover has reached the surface of Mars with the osprey names among those etched on special chips.
Nasa has released images, audio and video the rover took on the Martian surface.
A panoramic image of the planet from the landing site shows the red rocky surface with mountains and a delta visible in the distance.
The rover’s microphone captured a gust of wind on the red planet, and the sounds of Perseverance itself, the first sound recordings from Mars.
Louis and Aila raised their first chick, Lachlan in 2017.
In 2018 the nest failed after a pine marten raided the eggs, but had Mallie and Rannoch the following year.
They raised Doddie, Vera and Captain in 2020 with an audience of nearly 400,000 watching online.