Space is Rat’s next frontier

RingComm sends ring to International Space Station

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Astronaut Timothy J. Creamer MS ’92 tells the audience at Ring Premiere that the Class of 2012 Brass Rat has traveled to the International Space Station. The Brass Rat was launched into space on Feb. 8, aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor.
Feng Wu—The Tech

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, the Brass Rat has gone to space. Last Friday’s space-themed Ring Premiere featured a special message from astronaut Timothy J. Creamer MS ’92, who brought the 2012 class ring up with him to the International Space Station. Despite concerns that the leak of the Brass Rat designs on Sunday would dampen excitement over Ring Premiere, over 800 sophomores attended the event in Kresge Auditorium.

The 2012 ring features the Apollo Lunar Lander hack on top of the dome on the bezel, and the goddess Athena surrounded by Olympic torches on the class shank. On the seal shank, the owl resembles eagle from the Apollo 11 mission badge. As usual, there are numerous references to the class year, including the sailboats on the Cambridge skyline design which are shaped like a “1” and “2.”

The unveiled designs are identical to pictures sent to three dormitory mailing lists on Sunday, Feb. 7. After Premiere, the 2012 Ring Committee said that the designs had been stolen from a committee member’s computer. “It’s a very regrettable thing that someone would steal the design from a RingComm member’s computer,” said RingComm Chair Graham V. Schaik ’12. Last Tuesday, The Tech speculated incorrectly that those pictures might be drafts of the final design.

The ring was flown to space as part of the payload of the space shuttle Endeavor on STS-130. According to Schaik, the ring is currently on the International Space Station. The committee’s plan is to retrieve the ring, melt it down and incorporate it into the gold Brass Rats, which the class will receive in late April. “We’re currently trying to get the ring back from space as we would very much like to include it in the gold rings,” said Schaik.

Rutuparna Das ’12 was one of many students at the Ring Premiere who was excited to learn that the first ring was in space. “We’re gonna have the universe in our hands because the universe was embedded into the ring!” Das said.

Following tradition, RingComm first presented a ring spoof based on the Mayan 2012 apocalypse. The design included the sacrifice of TEAL clickers, Beaverzilla vs. Athena Titans, and an event over the dome which “suggested a thermonuclear weapon” according to the Vice Chair of the Ring Committee, Kimberly M. Sparling ’12. Sparling said that the fake design was lead mainly by Tess E. Schmidt ’12 and Ruaridh “Rory” R. Macdonald ’12.

Near the end of the presentation, the committee presented a video clip from Creamer, who was recorded aboard the International Space Station. Creamer congratulated the class of 2012 on their new Brass Rat, and said: “As I look out the Space Station’s windows, and see our Moon, I realize that MIT helped me get into orbit and get onto the International Space Station. And I also know that MIT will help us return to the moon as well. Come and join me in our future and lead our world to greater tomorrows.”

The committee was inspired by last year’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which happened around the time that the ring committee was first asked to think about the ring design. “Being able to see all these things between MIT and NASA gave us the idea of putting this [aspect of MIT] on the ring,” Sparling said.

The committee, with aid from some members of the Aeronautics and Astronautics department, whose names the Ring Committee has decided not to reveal for privacy, coordinated with NASA to send the ring to space. Schaik said, “NASA was excited to help [us]…We are thankful to NASA for getting our ring into the payload of the shuttle,”

The Brass Rat delivery will occur on April 30, at the Boston Public Library. More information on the 2012 Brass Rat can be found on