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Zion National Park coin on shuttle

ZION NATIONAL PARK — An image of Utah's Zion National Park is flying through space.

Superintendent Jock Whitworth announced that a Zion National Park Centennial coin is onboard the space shuttle Endeavour on its current mission to the International Space Station.

The commemorative coin was carried onboard by Lt. Col. Robert Behnken, a mission specialist. The coin's space journey marks the final official event in celebration of the first century anniversary of Zion National Park since its initial establishment as Mukuntuweap National Monument on July 31, 1909.

Lt. Col. Behnken requested an item symbolizing Zion National Park to carry with him on the mission. Behnken and his wife, Megan McArthur, also an astronaut, have enjoyed camping and hiking in the park, and he wanted to show his appreciation by bringing an item from the park on the shuttle mission.

The Zion Centennial commemorative coin will be returned to the park at the conclusion of the mission and will become a permanent addition to the park's museum collection.

While in space, Behnken also will photograph Zion Canyon.

The mission's progress and additional information can be obtained by accessing www.nasa.gov.